2011 September 02 Friday
Rick Perry An Uncompassionate Conservative?

My take on presidential elections: They are periodic sources of emotional pain if you spend much time thinking about the choices. One can't have a deep understanding of various facets of what is going wrong in the US of A and then listen with any degree of satisfaction to the press and promoters of the candidates argue about their visions of a future America. The course America is on now is tragic and the national debate touches only lightly on all that is going wrong.

Having said all that: Sounds like Texas governor Rick Perry is to the right of George W. Bush on social spending. He might even be willing to govern to the right of Bush on immigration, his previous statements on it notwithstanding.

Perry, who closely allied himself with Bush earlier in his career, was a supporter of Bush’s tax cuts and praised his leadership on national security issues. But he has been critical of Bush’s fiscal stewardship and his attempts to court the political middle by taking on issues such as education, immigration and Medicare. He has said that “this big-government binge [in Obama’s tenure] began under the administration of George W. Bush.”

Bush rankled conservatives with remarks such as this 2003 comment: “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.”

Perry has dismissed that idea.

Read the full article to see what Perry thinks of compassionate conservatism.

My take: We need leaders who will govern as if we aren't as wealthy as we imagined ourselves to be. The next President doesn't necessarily have to know we are poorer than we've imagined. He just has to be cheap and not easily emotionally swayed to try to relieve all suffering with social programs. While an accurate understanding of where we are headed would help it is too much to expect of our elites to have an accurate model of human nature or natural resources or the effects of globalization. An accurate understanding requires too big a willingness to reject the prevailing consensus on multiple topics. Someone like that is unlikely to make it into the Presidency.

It seems obvious that many developments both in the US and abroad will put intensifying pressure on living standards and therefore on tax revenues. The people in Washington DC need to scale back spending across the board and make it clear to the public that the federal government will have to unmake many promises. Why? The US economy can't grow enough to support the grandiose promises made for future retirees, poor folks, assorted industries sucking at the federal trough, and the many current and former federal employees and companies that make big money off of serving the federal government.

If you have been lucky and the financial crisis did not reach into your life you might be feeling complacent. But we've had a weak recovery and already the recovery has stalled and it looks like the world might already be in Global Financial Crisis Recession II (even the BRICs are tanking). The limited recovery was concentrated in the resource extraction regions and the same high oil prices that boosted their employment ultimately helped choke back the rest of the economy into recession. We are looking at either a lost decade of economic growth or, even worse, a steep decline.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2011 September 02 05:06 PM  Politics American Presidency

Mercer said at September 2, 2011 7:49 PM:

"too much to expect of our elites to have an accurate model of human nature or natural resources or the effects of globalization."

Why is it too much? Why can't they be expected to see that oil prices will go up and that globalization has not benefited most Americans incomes?

I have heard Perry say several times he is proudly pro business. That means he will fully support trade policies that hurt US workers and would like open borders like Bush. Some of his rivals are better on immigration so I will not vote for him. His statements on social security will have a negative effect on his general election chances.

WJ said at September 3, 2011 1:34 AM:

"He might even be willing to govern to the right of Bush on immigration, his previous statements on it notwithstanding."

He opposed workplace enforcement (E-Verify). He opposed building a wall. He opposed using local law enforcement to enforce immigration law. He supported in-state tuition for illegals. So far as I can tell he's only taken one pro-enforcement position: supporting more agents on the border.

He's trying to fake one of the sides out, and based on those actions which side do you think that is: the open borders loons, or us?

Everything I've seen about Rick Perry suggests he's a dumb, stupid, corrupt Texan who will say and do anything it takes to get elected.

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