Cheap Pop or a Marriage of Concepts?
Supporters of minimum wage increases (used here as an example issue) don’t appear willing to discuss whether their policies would work, would achieve an increase in living standard for working families. Instead, they offer insults about heartlessness and declarations about what the working poor deserve. Their presumption, I guess, is that anybody so cold as to argue against giving disadvantaged families a little bit more must be offering specious arguments with the objective of funneling more money to The Rich and that, therefore, need not be acknowledged.
As it happens, I don’t disagree with the principle that our society is morally obligated to work toward a state of affairs in which anybody who’s willing to make an honest effort ought to be able to support a family. Indeed, to turn the tables, my observation is that those who would have the government dictate pay rates privilege sounding as if they want to help over actually doing some good. Consider a couple of comments to Marc’s recent post on the issue. Scott Bill Hirst:
We need as Republicans to address nutrition and housing needs.We just can’t oppose the Democrats agenda.A pro family GOP agenda must show that Republicans are indeed not the party of the rich.That the GOP has solutions for these human problems will enhance our party.
If the GOP is ever to overcome its stigma as party of the rich (which I don’t necessarily believe anymore), it has to show its support for working families with some concrete proposals and action, instead of just throwing in the phrase “working families” for cheap pop when it fights abortion or gay marriage.
The cynicism of that closing jab illustrates the point. Maybe those aren’t cheap pop issues; maybe they are, in fact, part of a concrete solution to the social ills that seem inevitably to repercuss among the poor and otherwise vulnerable. Commenter Ralph gets it right when he notes that Republicans’ “plan for real assistance to working families” takes “the form of more reasonable spending and lower taxes.” But it is, or ought to be, deeper than that.
The conservative solution also entails, as I’ve said, emphasis on more opportunity for education (in forms and environments that citizens feel best suit them, not that government feels best suit it) and policies that encourage and facilitate entrepreneurship. More broadly, it entails encouragement toward life choices that we know to be healthier and more conducive to a society in which everybody has a chance to thrive. And to reach those who’ve fallen beyond the reach of simple freedom and soft encouragement, conservatives suggest that government get out of the way of, and (when possible) assist, those who would conduct charitable enterprises, regardless of their degree of religious emphasis.
It’s easy to sound big-hearted. It’s also easy to score political points with people who think the world owes them something by giving them handouts instead of structure. But anybody who wants to do good in the world should have the minimal resolve and fortitude to discuss whether their plans will actually work, and whether we all need to make sacrifices — some manifesting as limits to our libertine freedoms — more fundamental than higher payroll bills for businesses.