In his June 13 letter Lyndon Heywood says that most conservatives desire small government, not the “wholesale removal of public services.” They do? You’d never know it from their words. Conservatives never tire of whining about alleged government waste, and they rarely acknowledge all the good government does. (Speaking of which … hurray for Bellevue Public Schools! Several of our high schools rank in the top 100 nationwide.)
During the Bush years conservatives cut funding for necessary programs such as the FBI, the EPA, regulatory agencies, and child health care, while wasting trillions on corruption, unnecessary war, no-bid contracts, and tax cuts for the super-rich.
In Washington state, the Legislature recently slashed funding for human needs, despite one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation. Why’d they do it? Because if they tried to raise taxes (even just on the rich), conservatives would scream bloody murder.
Conservatives in Congress are now gearing up to torpedo a government-run health care option. This is despite the fact that government-run health care in most industrialized countries is far cheaper and more effective than the US market-based system.
This is another example of an inconvenient truth that conservatives need to face.
For the last 25 years a central conservative doctrine has indeed been wholesale opposition to government, based on President Reagan’s famous words: “Government is not a solution to our problems; government is the problem.” But Reagan was flat out wrong. Irrational opposition to government is a major cause of our current economic problems.
Conservatives need to look for a new slogan. How about “Fight terrorism”?
Donald A. Smith, Bellevue