Friday, August 29, 2008

Neither Party Gets It Right

Peggy Noonan:
Democrats in the end speak most of, and seem to hold the most sympathy for, the beset-upon single mother without medical coverage for her children, and the soldier back from the war who needs more help with post-traumatic stress disorder. They express the most sympathy for the needy, the yearning, the marginalized and unwell. For those, in short, who need more help from the government, meaning from the government's treasury, meaning the money got from taxpayers.

Who happen, also, to be a generally beset-upon group.

Democrats show little expressed sympathy for those who work to make the money the government taxes to help the beset-upon mother and the soldier and the kids. They express little sympathy for the middle-aged woman who owns a small dry cleaner and employs six people and is, actually, day to day, stressed and depressed from the burden of state, local and federal taxes, and regulations, and lawsuits, and meetings with the accountant, and complaints as to insufficient or incorrect efforts to meet guidelines regarding various employee/employer rules and regulations. At Republican conventions they express sympathy for this woman, as they do for those who are entrepreneurial, who start businesses and create jobs and build things. Republicans have, that is, sympathy for taxpayers. But they don't dwell all that much, or show much expressed sympathy for, the sick mother with the uninsured kids, and the soldier with the shot nerves.

Neither party ever gets it quite right, the balance between the taxed and the needy, the suffering of one sort and the suffering of another. You might say that in this both parties are equally cold and equally warm, only to two different classes of citizens.
(HT Greg Mankiw)

1 comment:

thinking said...

Of course neither party gets it right, in that there is no "right" in so much as there is no perfect solution that will make everyone happy.

One can only talk about better solutions, not "right" ones.

There will be tradeoffs as always.

Add to that that people in both parties are, well, people who are imperfect and flawed, and it's no great revelation that neither party gets it "right."

That is one more reason why we desparately need to balance the policies of the Republicans now with some time for the Democrats to hold power.

However, Noonan again skews the argument and shows her political bias towards Republicans. Right now it is the Democrats who do more to take care of the middle class and small business owners that Noonan describes.

What the Republicans of today specialize in is assisting the very very wealthy. Look at any analysis of the tax plans of Obama vs McCain, and you will see that Obama favors the poor and middle class, but that McCain benefits those at the far far end of the wealth scale. It's striking when you see it graphed.

Even the wealthy fare better under the Democrats now because the wealthy depend on the middle class as consumers. Look at the contrast in the economy under Clinton vs Bush.

Let's also take those examples that Noonan uses: one can argue credibly that a sick mother with uninsured kids or a soldier with shot nerves deserves a bit more consideration than the stressed out dry cleaner owner. I mean, which one has the far greater problem to cope with?

There is no moral equivalence there. The soldier with PTSD I think qualifies a little more for sympathy than the dry cleaner owner.

That Noonan would try to equate those two is poor on her part.