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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 22, 2010 / 11 Menachem-Av, 5770

The liberal roadblocks to shrinking government

By Kevin Ferris



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | William Voegeli has bad tidings for advocates of limited government and low taxes: There is no endgame when it comes to the liberal agenda.

If tomorrow, liberals in Congress, state legislatures, and town councils all across the nation raised taxes and increased spending in order to fund every single item on every special-interest wish list, would social-justice nirvana have arrived? No.

Within hours, some liberal would find an unmet need — perhaps a champagne shortage due to the previous day's celebrations — that only a new government program could address.

It gets worse: Voegeli says that despite conservatives' good-faith efforts to halt or reverse the growth of government, those attempts have been largely ineffective.

None of this will be news to tea partyers or like-minded folks. Maybe they haven't expressed these concerns as eloquently and authoritatively as Voegeli does in his new book, "Never Enough: America's Limitless Welfare State," but they have long understood the sentiment. In fact, the book's explanation for how America got to this point is in sync with the concerns raised regularly at tea parties.

"Liberalism's irrepressible drive for an ever larger welfare state without limit arises from at least two premises upon which the left no longer reflects: the elevation of compassion to a political principle (albeit with other people's money), and the erosion of meaningful constitutional limits on government on account of the imperatives of the idea of Progress," Steven F. Hayward says in the foreword.

Voegeli follows up: "(B)ecause compassion is an emotional response rather than a moral principle, it defeats every attempt to make wise choices about which sufferers do and don't deserve governmentally dispensed solace."

A benefit might begin for Americans at or below the poverty level. But then what of those just above the poverty level? How can we exclude them? If the criterion is compassion, on what grounds do you stop expanding a program? 200 percent of the poverty level? 300?

Of course, the more people covered, the larger the constituency for continuing the program.

And don't even think of cutting the program's budget. Even talk of slowing its growth will be met with howls of outrage. Republicans learned this lesson with Medicare in the 1990s — and turned the tables in the recent health-care debate.

Welfare-state godfather Franklin Roosevelt once suggested that failed programs could be shut down, but that has never happened, Voegeli says.

"There is not one clear instance of a welfare state program that liberals by consensus came to regard as a failure, to be frankly admitted and abandoned," he writes.

Even under Ronald Reagan, who scaled back government somewhat, spending on what Voegeli terms "human resources" grew 0.90 percent. That's far less than under most presidents, but still an increase.

"Reagan's 'triumph' was to yield ground more slowly than any other political leader in the battle that conservatives consider their central mission," Voegeli writes.

Reagan learned that Americans really like those programs they complain about funding. So a Crazy Eddie libertarian approach to government — "Everything must go!!" — isn't likely to be successful at the polls.

"In exchange for a lottery player's chance at wiping it out entirely, such conservatives forfeit any prospect of placing the welfare state on sounder footing, financially, functionally, or philosophically," Voegeli says. Thus liberals "will have the unfettered ability to chart its future course."

I suspect that message might trouble some tea partyers who equate compromise with surrender or see almost all government programs as unconstitutional. But note that Voegeli isn't saying to give up the fight for liberty, self-government, or free markets. He's just saying that not all fights rise to constitutional-crisis level, and that it's tough to fight when sidelined — as the GOP and conservatives are today in Washington.

It's especially important to get in the game now. Crippling deficits have the attention of Americans as never before, and many are open to a serious alternative to the nation's unsustainable fiscal course. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has one, the Road Map for America's Future (www.americanroadmap.org), a comprehensive approach to entitlement, budget, spending, and tax reform. The safety net he outlines is different from the current one, but it doesn't bankrupt the country. The Congressional Budget Office said the plan would "make the Social Security and Medicare programs permanently solvent (and) lift the growing debt burden on future generations ..."

The "Never Enough" crowd naturally doesn't want the limits that Ryan proposes. That's enough of an endorsement for me.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Kevin Ferris is commentary page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.



Previously:


06/16/10: A rightward sequel to Year of the Woman?
03/11/10: Dems silent on health-bill concerns
03/03/10: More than an angry mob
02/17/10: A summit for the rest of us
02/08/10: A moving tale of detainee shuffle
01/27/10: Standing for more than ‘No’
12/24/09: A duty, an honor that grows and grows
11/12/09: Obama should heed his own lofty words
11/05/09: Getting well, helping others
10/01/09: Helping the fighters thrive
09/03/09: Holder needs to explain dismissal of Philly case
08/19/09: Rage understandable, but what comes next?
08/05/09: A few words, and then some, from the Obama Center
04/29/09: Pity for ‘tortured’ terrorist?
04/22/09: For good or ill, to be a public figure is to have your image used and abused
03/11/09: GOP lacks leader but has potential
03/05/09: A dangerous naivete in foreign policy
02/25/09: Beware ‘dialogue’ on race
12/29/08: ‘Chicago II’: A governor's story
12/11/08: Operator: Welcome to transition hotline
12/03/08: How Obama will fight a growing front in Afghanistan
11/25/08: GOP ahead of curve for change
11/13/08: Prayers for President-elect Barack Obama
10/03/08: Obama's lowball attacks: Suggesting that McCain is a bigot runs afoul of the high-minded ‘unity’ tripe
09/06/08: It's unlikely that a President McCain would be driven by political ideology
09/04/08: Bold McCain will sharpen the contrasts

© 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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