From the National Review:

Imagine if a Republican administration had proposed various cost control initiatives to trim the growth of Medicare spending. Does anyone doubt that Democrats would attack the notional cuts vociferously? Paul Krugman actually had a canned argument ready in case Republicans ever did follow through: while Democrats use cuts to fund coverage expansion, Republicans use them to cut taxes for the rich (cue evil laughter). Now, it's obvious that we're trapped in this dynamic because the median voter reigns supreme, and it is cheap and easy for incumbent interests to distort and oversimplify wrenching reforms on either side of the partisan divide.

The only way out of this trap is to persuade the median voter of the central importance of achieving fiscal sustainability, even if that means short-term sacrifice. That is a tough job, and it's not clear that conservatives are willing to take it on. The good news is that many in the Tea Party movement understand the stakes and the difficult decisions that have to be made going forward. I'm far more skeptical about the Republican leadership.
A fair point. It also means that the Tea Party movement -- if it becomes successful at achieving power -- is going to need a response to the charge that it is intending to wage war on the poor. All of the things it wants to do involve restoring the government to its constitutionally-specified role; this includes dismantling the social-welfare state, at least at the Federal level.

There's nothing in the Constitution that prevents the states from running any kind of socialist program they want; that's a 10th Amendment issue. Is that the right response? "No, we're fine with you doing whatever you want for the poor at the state level, so long as you understand I'll be moving my business to a state that doesn't require me to pay confiscatory taxes. But anything you find that you can do for them, funded with such taxes as you can confiscate from those who cannot or will not move, go ahead and do."

It seems that globalization hates socialism; we can always move our business to somewhere cheaper! There are some advantages to remaining inside the United States, of course, but these turn out to have limits: for example, the advantage of easy access to markets can be overcome if transportation costs are cheap enough; the advantage of peace and good order can be overcome if the place we move to is willing for us to fund our own security services (and undermined by the increased efforts of our Federal government to act as a corporate shakedown racket).

Part of the answer, then, may be practical and budgetary: we have to make these changes, like it or not. Part is doctrinal, or legal: we ought to restore the idea of Constitutional limits to the central place in our public life. And part is a concession, so as to let the world make our argument for us: do what you can at the state level, freely, understanding that you'll be paying for it by having businesses flee you.

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