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Others do have policy solutions

Chronicle Guest View - In the Public Interest

September 28, 2010
By John Hendrickson

Conservatives are often accused of being the voice of “no” in regard to the progressive policy agenda. Many conservatives and libertarians have voted against the $787 billion (now $862 billion) stimulus bill, health-care reform, and financial regulation, among other controversial legislation that has the object of extending the entitlement and regulatory state. In addition, many conservatives have voiced their concern over the President’s many appointments, especially his two Supreme Court appointments, whose ideas and philosophy about government and the Constitution are rooted in the progressive view of the “living” Constitution. Many conservatives who have voted “no” have voted in the negative not for partisan reasons, but rather because the policies are not only unconstitutional, but do not provide adequate policy solutions. Conservatives are instead proposing solutions based on ideas rooted in constitutional limited government and free enterprise — principles which guided the Founding Fathers.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, is offering a substantive policy proposal to reform taxes, spending, and entitlements. Rep. Ryan has introduced “A Roadmap for America’s Future,” which is a bold policy proposal that addresses the entitlement and fiscal crisis at large. Ryan’s Roadmap offers a policy blueprint which reforms entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare, proposes free-market reforms in health care, and restructures the tax code. Rep. Ryan also has proposed a plan to reduce federal spending. Senator John Thune (R-SD) has also introduced a plan to deal with the escalating spending in Congress. As the national debt and deficits continue to grow, Sen. Thune has proposed the Deficit Reduction and Budget Reform Act, which proposes to find a solution to uncontrolled government spending. Also, the Republican Study Committee and the Republican Senate Policy Committee are working on a number of policy solutions that are rooted in constitutional limited government.

Conservative and libertarian members of Congress are also joined by numerous scholars and writers who serve in colleges, universities, and the many think tanks such as The Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Hoover Institution, and Public Interest Institute which are offering sound policy ideas based upon constitutional principles and sound economic theories such as the supply-side theory. Conservative ideas are considered “old” by progressives, but the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater, in The Conscience of a Conservative, wrote: “To suggest that the Conservative philosophy is out of date is akin to saying that the Golden Rule, or the Ten Commandments, or Aristotle’s Politics are out of date. The Conservative approach is nothing more or less than an attempt to apply the wisdom, experience, and the revealed truths of the past to the problems of the contemporary world.”

Conservatives and libertarians are providing policy solutions and ideas that are rooted in constitutional principles — principles that may be outdated to liberals and progressives, but then again it is the other side that rejects the American Founding in favor of a greater entitlement and regulatory state based on “evolving standards and rights.” Conservatives need not be ashamed in defending limited-constitutional government, which our Founders intended and created.

John Hendrickson is a research analyst at the Public Interest Institute in Mount Pleasant.


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