Failures in Conservatism

President Reagan, VP Bush and 1981 Cabinet

I believe that BOTH political parties have failed the country.  Both have done things that have resulted in almost irreparable damage to the country, the economy, and our safety and security.  In this article, I will touch on the main ways the Republican Party has failed.

The Republicans purport to be the party of conservative values.  Yet they have failed to maintain those values by the policies they have actually followed.  Allow me to elaborate on the most fundamental and egregious examples.

In the area of economics, they have failed in two major ways.  The first happened quite a while ago, during the Reagan presidency.  Republicans used to be the party that stopped out of control government spending.  This ended in the Reagan era.  Reagan wanted to seriously expand the military to meet the ongoing threat of the Soviet Union.  I didn’t have a problem with this.  The problem was that Reagan also wanted to slash taxes at the same time.  The result was increased government spending while increasing the deficit.  This didn’t seem to matter at the time.  But it opened the flood gates to ballooning deficits.  As a result, the government debt has grown from much less than a Trillion dollars during Reagan’s time, to close to Twenty Trillion right now.  And this is now so much that it can never be repaid.  And we can thank a large part of this monstrous debt to Republicans who threw away their prior aversion to government debt.

The second way the Republicans failed us is in preventing Capitalism from actually working.  Capitalism is a great way to foster entrepreneurship and create individual incentives to produce more.  But to work, Capitalism must allow for failure.  When individuals and enterprises fail, for whatever reason, they must deal with the consequences.  This frequently means bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy must happen to clear bad debts, and to provide incentives to those who loan money to manage risks properly (or risk losing their money).  The Republicans utterly failed in the 2008 crisis.  The bailouts and governmental financial intervention (TARP) stopped the “safety valves” of Capitalism from working, and as a result, the pressures from expanding extreme financial risk have been continuing to build ever since.  As a result, the next financial crisis will be immensely worse than what happened a decade ago.  And this time the government WON’T be able to handle the damage.

The Republicans have failed to protect us.  In fact, they have made things much worse in the international arena.  It used to be that Republicans were against involvement in Foreign Wars and military entanglements.  Now, we are involved in more situations than I can count.  This started with our response to terrorism, but it really began with helping what we thought were “like minded” rebels in Afghanistan.  It mushroomed with the unbelievably naive idea of trying to turn Iraq into a democracy, where we wasted our strength and threw away Trillions in national treasure.

The internal “fracturing” of the Republican party led to its current control by both extremists and special interests.  This is a root cause of the rise of the current president, who was able to pander to the extremists while enlisting the aid of any special interest that would support him.

So now we have a supposedly conservative Party with control of Congress and the Presidency that is interventionist, profligate spenders with no real interest in true Capitalism, who are doing nothing to rectify the mistakes of the past, nor preparing our country for the financial and military disasters that are looming in front of us.

What to Do

Understand how the Republican party has changed since the 1950’s.  It went from fiscally conservative and militarily non-interventionist to the opposite of both.  It has failed its core constituency as it has become more dependent on special interest groups, and more in tune with extremist elements.

The Tea Party activists tried to intervene and save the party.  They failed.  In large measure by promoting extremist candidates that cannot win November elections.

A true right of center party is sorely needed.  It can only come from a combination of grass roots people volunteering their time, and by true patriots putting some serious fortunes at the disposal of these volunteers.  I believe such a combination is possible, and it will be needed to extricate us from the calamites the Republicans and Democrats have created for us all.

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