Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meritocracy Makes the Conservative

Good post from Jon Chait responding to Eric Cantor on The Daily Show,

[Republican's] believe that all success is earned success. They do not believe that luck or life circumstance play an important part in economic success. They believe that wealth and poverty are essentially moral categories, interchangeable with "hard work" and "sloth." They decry government, but they don't really oppose government per se. They oppose those government functions that transfer resources from the rich to the non-rich.

This is actually something I have discussed with quite a few conservatives over the last few years. Our differing world views seem to boil down to whether or not we believe in American meritocracy. Chait goes the next step and illustrates how this plays out in Republican policies,

It's rare for Republicans to come out and say this -- and Cantor hints at it but does not quite do so explicitly. The core of the Republican agenda is to reduce the progressivity of the tax code. Now, progressive taxation is highly popular, so Republicans invariably cast their opposition to progressive taxation as an effort to spur growth or starve spending. But the reason Republicans stick to these policies so doggedly even when the rationales for them are repeatedly proven false is that those rationales are not the real reason. The real reason is that they think it's fundamentally, deeply unfair for rich people to bear the cost of helping the non-rich.

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