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GEORGE WILL: Case isn’t made for conservatism

Letter by David Ogilvie, Gig Harbor on Feb. 17, 2011 at 10:51 am with 1 Comment »
February 17, 2011 3:20 pm

Re: “A case for conservatism – the adult kind” (George Will column, 2-17).

Will deserves high marks for civility but falls miserably short when it comes to building a solid case for conservatism.

He targets the administration’s health care bill as designed to “engulf private markets and produce a single-payer system or its equivalent.” To that I would ask: Is that a bad thing? Private markets have made health care incredibly expensive, bureaucratic and available only to those who can afford exorbitant premiums.

Will would also “reform entitlements and produce economic growth.” For me, that’s code for privatizing Social Security and Medicare. Had we allowed the Bush administration to remove that basic foundation to retirement and forced conversion to private investments, where would retirees have been in the crash of 2008?

To clinch his case, Will points to the state of Indiana as a model of sensible conservative policies – low spending and small government. Sounds good, but he avoids mentioning the effect that has had, or will have, on Indiana’s roads, bridges, transit systems, elementary schools, universities, law enforcement and social safety nets.

He has to build a better case to make a believer out of me.

Leave a comment Comments → 1
  1. thellene says:

    With regard to Mr Olgilvie’s opinion that George Will does not make the case for conservatism, I would say it appears nothing would make that case for him.

    On “would single payer be a bad thing”, the majority of people think it would be, else Congress would not have dropped it so quickly. Also, a large portion of our country, perhaps a majority, feel having any more government involvement in this huge portion of our economy is not a good thing.

    On his interpretation of Mr. Will’s writing “reform entitlements” as code for privatizing SS and Medicare, on what basis does he justify that interpretation? Since these entitlement programs are a huge and growing portion of our government’s spending, I believe almost all knowledgeable politicians and government officials agree with the need, but very few have the courage to open up the topic for fear of losing the next election. And, unfortunately, that almost certainly would be the result because our electorate does tend to punish their elected official for making the hard choices. The comment about how bad things would be if privatization had occurred ignores what its objectives were, how it would have been implemented (no effect on people from the ’08 market because no one on SS would have been involved) and how well the market recovery has gone. Privatization may or may not be an improvement but the market downturn is not a logical argument against it.

    Finally, on the effects on roads, etc. from the Indiana budgets, Mr. Olgilvie fails, as he accuses Mr. Will, of making a case; he merely states that those will be the results, with no evidence or proof. Some short-term impacts may occur, but as the state adjusts it spending priorities and does a better job of smoothing spending over good times and bad, I believe long-term harm is not likely. I hope all the states, including our own, will learn valuable lessons from the current challenges they face.

    I don’t believe anyone can build a case to make a believer out of Mr. Olgilvie, but he is certainly entitled to his opinions.

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