Issues liberals champion in modern American politics seem small and trivial compared to the heyday of the Progressive Movement. A created war on women, minimum wage laws even Bill Gates agrees will destroy jobs and hurt the poor and working class, represent a very small shadow of their former shelves.
Despite dramatic changes in the U.S. economy since the passage of Progressive Era reforms, Democrat power-brokers — members of a modern party that actually opposed civil rights and most 20th century progressive causes — have refused to reform unsustainable programs. Republican Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Mike Lee (R-UT) put out a series of bold reforms this week, marking the second time in only a few months Republican politicians released a viable plan to preserve America’s social safety net and increase economic mobility.
In July, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the 2012 vice presidential nominee and Chairman of the House Budget Committee, delivered a speech at the American Enterprise Institute, a D.C.-based policy think-tank outlining his plan for “expanding opportunity in America,” because he also understands that without a strong economy there is no social safety net.
Meanwhile, as Barack Obama accuses Islamist terrorists and Vladimir Putin of behaving as if they are still in the “19th century” at the U.N. General Assembly Wednesday, many thoughtful intellectuals are pointing out that progressives haven’t had a new idea since that same period.
“On domestic policy, liberals see history as a story of progress from tiny government to ever-larger government,” columnist and analyst Michael Barone recently wrote. “Though never stating exactly how far that movement should go.”
Kevin Williamson of National Review said he believes that’s because modern Democrats — and, the American Left as a whole — are simply out of new ideas. As a result, the party is defending outdated government-centered solutions because they are struggling to offer new policies.
“I can’t remember the last time I heard a new idea from the left; they’re intellectually bankrupt,” Williamson told the audience at an event this week dubbed, “Where is Liberalism Going?” The event was hosted by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank championing free market solutions that decentralize power, a smart and strong national defense, economic choice and opportunity.
Williamson joined William Voegeli, senior editor of the Claremont Review of Books, and David Azerrad, director of The Heritage Foundation’s B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, on a panel moderated by Ben Domenech, the editor of The Federalist. The discussion was on the future of liberalism and how conservatives can take action to thwart Democrats’ plans to balkanize Americans in order to push through an indefensible agenda.
And, as Barone noted, it’s not just the agenda but who is pushing it.
If someone would have asked James Carville in the 1990s which party he believed would physically appear to represent the future, he wouldn’t have taken a second to answer. Now, Carville spends his days chasing around his old boss’s wife to convince her to run for president in 2016, when she’ll be in her 70s. Her husband was first elected to public office in 1976 and, Bill Clinton’s 1992 theme song, “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow),” was first for sale in 1977.
Across the 2014 Senate Map the Democratic candidates are riddled with old faces and old names — Mark Pryor (Arkansas), Mary Landrieu (Louisiana), Mark Warner (Virginia) Mark Begich (Alaska), just to name a few — are all deeply connected political families still riding the entitlement train to political office.
And they are doing it on issues they have recreated out of political necessity, not because American society has reverted to an unjust system that it is now — once again — necessary.
Contraception and other aspects to the manufactured war on women is — unsurprisingly — manufactured. The Supreme Court, contrary to their claims, did not ban contraception for female employees of people of faith. They did, however, ban banning contraception in 1965. The Hobby Lobby was never an issue of contraception, it was over abortifacients. Anyone who argues the contrary, including former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos, who now poses as a journalist on ABC News, is intentionally lying.
Mr. Stephanopoulos is truly one to talk, considering his last boss set back the rights of women in power for decades.
Equal pay for women may sound great to young, single female voters, but it is a widely debunked myth even the White House can’t explain. Truthfully, intellectual women should expect it to be a myth, particularly because pay tables based on sexual discrimination has outlawed by federal law since 1964.
The minimum wage, first past by Congress in 1938, is a similarly recycled myth. Three years earlier, Congress passed the Social Security Act selling it as old-age insurance for superannuated workers. Yet, even as the government’s own trustees say the program will soon be another broken government promise, Democrats propose increasing payments.
“Since the cash-flow deficit will be less than interest earnings through 2019, reserves of the combined trust funds will continue to grow but not by enough to prevent the ratio of reserves to one year’s projected cost (the combined trust fund ratio) from declining,” a recent trustees report stated. “After 2019, Treasury will redeem trust fund asset reserves to the extent that program cost exceeds tax revenue and interest earnings until depletion of combined trust fund reserves in 2033, the same year projected in last year’s Trustees Report.”
Perhaps, in 2033, we will hear a new idea from the American Left. Unfortunately, by that time, Social Security will not be the only program in need of reform.