The road from Arthur Brooks to Glenn Beck.
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Knowing as we do that earning success is the key to happiness, rather than simply getting more money, the goal of our political system should be this: to give all Americans the greatest opportunities possible to succeed based on their hard work and merit [Beck’s word again]. And that’s exactly what the free enterprise system does — makes earned success possible for the most people. This is the liberty our founders wrote about, the liberty that enables the true pursuit of happiness.
The Equality of Liberty
Included among the moral foundations of liberty is the principle of equality. “But for the large majority of us, this means equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome…. If this leads to income inequality — above some acceptable floor — so be it.” In other words, the 70% supermajority accepts safety net programs for the truly needy, to ensure that no one suffers in deprivation. But they do not support going beyond this to income redistribution, taking from the successful to give to the less successful just to achieve more income equality. That is just stealing. This is a fundamental, rock bottom principle that we should all promote with more awareness and fervor. As Brooks explains:
The majority believes government should protect the returns for hard work and merit. The 30 percent coalition effectively wants to penalize success…. [But] equality of income is not fair. It is distinctly unfair. If you work harder than a coworker but are paid the same, that is unfair. If you save your money but still retire with the same pension as your spendthrift neighbor, that is unfair. And if you stay in your house and make the mortgage payments even when its value drops but your neighbor walks away from his without recourse, that is unfair.
What most helps the poor, moreover, is not government programs, but free market opportunity and prosperity. Brooks further explains:
Only free enterprise truly addresses the root causes of poverty. Our solutions are not based on a reslicing of the existing economic pie by government officials and bureaucrats, effectively taking money from the well-off and giving it to the poor through punitive taxation and growing welfare. They are based on an expansion of the pie in ways that will increase everyone’s share through policies and a culture that creates incentives for Americans, allows them to tap into the generative power of entrepreneurship, and ultimately lets them earn their own success.
In contrast, “Because they do not strengthen culture and reinforce values, American welfare programs have spectacularly failed to end poverty.”
Consequently, let us not forget either the broad public appeal of economic growth and empowerment as a political and policy theme, and the common sense appeal of incentives in explaining how that works. Martin Luther King III told the Huffington Post on the day of the Beck rally that his father in 1967 and 1968 “was focused on economic empowerment….We have made great strides, but somehow we’ve got to create a climate so that everybody can do well, not just some.” That is a tailor made theme for the 70 percent Supermajority as well, as the late Jack Kemp demonstrated during his political career.
Moreover, blue collar labor union activists are really just after prosperity for their families as well. It’s just that they don’t recognize yet that general free market economic prosperity is the best way to achieve their goals. Better explaining how that works could vault the 70 percent Supermajority into the 85 percent Consensus.
A broad explanation of the appeal of free market economics seems to be necessary to win the votes of the whole 70% coalition. Adding the economic growth theme to Reagan’s traditional conservative themes seemed to be what promoted the Republicans from the mid-40s in their share of the vote to a long term governing majority. Because of the workings of the British political system at the time, Margaret Thatcher focusing on consistent conservative themes was able to dominate British politics for a record time with only that same mid-40s share of the vote.
This is not a prediction. But with perceptive leaders like Glenn Beck and Arthur Brooks lighting the way, I am expecting to see an authentic American political giant who truly understands the 70 percent Supermajority liberate America in 2012 with their record setting votes. I just note that authoring the introduction to Brooks’ book was Newt Gingrich.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?