Conservatism: Making Government Fail
Ronald Reagan led the rhetorical charge against government. It was the Reagan Revolution. Remember his 1981 inaugural address when he said, “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” Reagan ushered in the era of free market ideology, unfettered and unregulated capitalism, tax cuts for the wealthy, supply side economics and trickle down theories, The ideas of Milton Friedman and Alan Greenspan were ascendant. Their pronouncements were greeted with reverence and awe. Look around today and witness the carnage: unemployment, debt, bankruptcies, foreclosures and a hollowed out manufacturing base. Historically, conservatives use government as a convenient punching bag and rail against its unbridled evils. But when it comes to corporate subsidies and bailouts for the rich and powerful they quickly transform themselves and feed at the government trough with great appetite. The hypocrisy is impressive.
Thomas Frank is a prominent political commentator and the founding editor of The Baffler magazine. He is the author of many books including One Market Under God, What’s the Matter with Kansas? The Wrecking Crew, Pity the Billionaire and Listen, Liberal.