So on taxes and Medicare, Republicans have made a significant shift. They’ve demonstrated that they really are willing to raise taxes, including taxes on the rich, if it means that Medicare will be put on a sound footing as part of the deal. Given that health expenditures are going to be the main driver of increased federal spending in the decades to come, this is a pretty sensible approach.
Often people want to think like, the GOP believes in this or the Democrats stand behind that.
The Republican and the Democratic Parties, however, are not schools of policy thought. They are political parties. They stand for winning elections.
This is not a dig. They could be nothing else. A political party that does not stand for winning elections will cease to exist.
So the fact that people do not in fact want to dismantle the Welfare State and want to raise taxes on the rich means that at some point it is highly likely that the GOP will support these things.
One interesting issue is abortion. In my long What is At Stake Post, I mentioned that a repeal of Roe vs. Wade would destroy the pro-life movement.
I didn’t simply mean in the simple sense of death by success. I meant that it would unleash a radical pro-abortion movement in America. This is because abortion is a unique issue in which lots of people want to identify as pro-life and support pro-life causes but they don’t actually want to live in a world where abortion is illegal.
If you relate to Bryan Caplan’s thesis on politics the reason for this is simple. Abortion is a gruesome thought. If they don’t have to suffer any consequences from opposing abortion then many people naturally seek to oppose what they find gruesome. However, once it becomes illegal millions of people will be faced with the consequences of this action in that someone they know will not be able to get a legal abortion.
This will almost certainly dampen enthusiasm for the cause. On the other hand people who are attracted to the pro-Choice side will be ever more fired up by witnessing the consequences of illegal abortion.
Now to be clear I say this not as a backdoor attempt to extol the ultimate superiority of pro-Choice views. I actually think this issue brings up extremely deep philosophical questions that virtually no one I can find wants to engage in.
I am just saying this is my estimation of the politics of this issue.