God Created the GOP
by Patrick J. Buchanan: The
Fall of the House of Labor
"God put the
Republican Party on earth to cut taxes. If they don't do that, they
have no useful function."
Novak was speaking of the party that embraced the revolution of
Ronald Reagan, who had hung a portrait of Calvin Coolidge in his
Cabinet Room and set about cutting income tax rates to 28 percent.
But, to be
historically precise, the GOP was not put here to cut taxes. From
infancy in the 1850s, its mission was to halt the spread of slavery.
From 1865 to 1929, it was the party of high tariffs. Mission: Build
the nation and protect U.S. industry and the wages of American workers.
And if the
Deity commanded the GOP to cut taxes, the party has had an uneven
record. Warren Harding and Coolidge cut Woodrow Wilson's wartime
tax rates by two-thirds, but Herbert Hoover nearly tripled the top
Eisenhower, when the top tax rate was 91 percent, the GOP ratified
the New Deal and provided the tax revenue to balance the budget
at the elevated levels of spending 20 years of Democratic rule had
followed suit. Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, aid to education,
the Peace Corps, the arts and humanities endowments, all of the
Great Society programs grew – with Nixon adding OSHA, EPA, the Consumer
Product Safety Commission and Cancer Institute.
tax rates to 50-year lows, but also accepted new gasoline and payroll
taxes. George H.W. Bush then raised the top rate back to 35 percent.
George W. cut
tax rates, but put two wars, prescription drug benefits for seniors
and No Child Left Behind on the Visa card. Speaker Boehner is about
to sign on to higher tax rates.
Point of this
recitation: Republicans may talk of reducing the size of government,
cutting taxes and balancing budgets. But the history of the last
century suggests the party has been driven into what may be described
as an inexorable long retreat.
left the White House to "Wonder Boy," as he called Hoover, federal
spending was 3 percent of gross national product.
Today, it is
around 23 percent. Add state, county and municipal government spending,
and we are at 38 percent. Anyone think this figure is going down
in our lifetimes?
say the GOP, if it is the party of small government and low taxes,
has over the past 80 years been a successful party? Or does the
America of today look more like the country Socialist Norman Thomas
had in mind in 1932?
can spending go down when, from 2012 to 2030, 75 million baby boomers
will be retiring and going on Social Security and Medicare at a
rate of 10,000 every day?
How can spending
go down when a million legal immigrants arrive annually, 85 percent
from the Third World, and most lacking the academic and linguistic
abilities or the work skills of Americans?
– and, with "immigration reform," 11 million to 12 million illegals,
as well – will be eligible for welfare, earned income tax credits,
food stamps, rent supplements, Medicaid, Head Start, free schooling
K-12 with two or three free meals a day at school, Pell Grants and
student loans at graduation, job training and unemployment checks
for 99 weeks.
and Barack Obama both, these programs have exploded. And with 40
percent of all babies now born to single moms in America, does anyone
believe these programs will shrink?
When the Great
Wave of immigrants came between 1890 and 1920, these programs did
not exist. In the 1930s, welfare was seen even by FDR as a temporary
necessity to get through the hard times.
welfare state of today, however, is permanent, as are the millions
of government employees who milk and manage it.
largest government expenditures.
be, at the national level, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid,
defense, homeland security and interest on the debt. At the state
and local level, education, transportation – streets, highways,
subways – and public safety.
If God put
the Republican Party on this earth to cut taxes, how do we do his
work in the face of these inexorable forces for increased spending?
Do we ignore the surging deficits and soaring debt?
said cutting tax rates would lead to a balanced budget. But when?
The Bush tax cuts never did. His were the largest deficits of all,
until the coming of Obama.
we would see our future, we should look to Europe. There, the governments
consume more than 40 percent of GDP and, in countries like France,
almost 60 percent.
the militaries have been hollowed out. Political parties face repudiation.
Taxes in France have hit 75 percent. The wealthy flee. Pension promises
are reneged upon. Government salaries are cut; employees laid off.
Unemployment is astronomical for the young. The divisions deepen;
the protests grow. Now, Europe's banks, fearing social unrest, have
started to emulate the Fed and buy up regime debt.
the West over the last century, the arc of history bends toward
socialism and insolvency.
J. Buchanan [send
him mail] is co-founder and editor of The
American Conservative. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Suicide
of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025? See his
© 2012 Creators Syndicate
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