Eric Cantor, Republican House Majority Leader, was quoted today in the Wall Street Journal as having said that his Democratic opponents don't believe in capitalism, they believe in the welfare state.
First of all, how do you describe a political party that insists on continuing to provide significant, targeted subsidies to an industry (Big Oil) that collectively pulled in one trillion dollars in profits last year alone? To me, that's not a political party with conservative principles, a political party that espouses capitalism. That's a party that doles out welfare. The amount of corporate welfare that has been incorporated into the tax code would outrage their base if widely publicized, and at this point the Republicans have to take ownership of that lost revenue.
And ending the corporate welfare state does not represent a tax increase. It's tax reform. Tax increases are properly defined as increases in tax rates. Tax reform doesn't increase rates. Tax reform levels the playing field, sees to it that every American citizen and every American corporation is treated equally. Only tax reform can lead to the realization of truly conservative principles and an end to the corporate welfare state.
How do Republicans define the term 'welfare state' then? I suppose that their definition is a state that values individuals over businesses. Well, at least to the extent that I believe that it is the business of government to see to it that the elderly, the infirm, and the poor don't of necessity go hungry or homeless, I believe in a welfare state for individuals. Is there waste, fraud, and abuse in our system of welfare dedicated to individuals? No more, I submit, then the waste, fraud, and abuse in our corporate welfare system.
The cost overruns collected fraudulently by a single defense contractor for the development a single weapon system are, in all likelihood, equivalent to all of the waste, fraud, and abuse in what Republicans choose to call welfare. It's time that they stuck to their supposedly conservative principles. It's time that they let businesses stand or fall on their own merit, like true capitalists. It's time for the rest of us to insist that they do.