In the past, conservatives accepted the need for a government-provided safety net on humanitarian grounds. Don’t take it from me, take it from Friedrich Hayek, the conservative intellectual hero, who specifically declared in “The Road to Serfdom” his support for “a comprehensive system of social insurance” to protect citizens against “the common hazards of life,” and singled out health in particular.Given the agreed-upon desirability of protecting citizens against the worst, the question then became one of costs and benefits — and health care was one of those areas where even conservatives used to be willing to accept government intervention in the name of compassion, given the clear evidence that covering the uninsured would not, in fact, cost very much money. As many observers have pointed out, the Obama health care plan was largely based on past Republican plans, and is virtually identical to Mitt Romney’s health reform in Massachusetts.Now, however, compassion is out of fashion — indeed, lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the G.O.P.’s base.
Read it all at The New York Times, Free To Die
UPDATE: Read in conjunction with Joshua Holland's Has American-Style Conservatism Become a Religion?
But I think another belief may be more telling; that cutting taxes always brings in more revenues to the government's coffers. There are two reasons this claim is more a manifestation of religious dogma than just the usual spin. First, it represents a perfect article of faith – universally held among the brethren but without any discernible basis in reality (see here for more explanation).In 2007, Time magazine reporter Justin Fox surveyed conservatives on whether they believed the myth. He found a perfect split: all conservative politicians, pundits and operatives bought into it while conservative economists or budget experts -- people who have to remain somewhat grounded in evidence -- didn't hesitate to call it out for the nonsense it is, and that included “virtually every economics Ph.D. who has worked in a prominent role in the Bush administration.”