Wednesday, August 21, 2002

Liberal Lighthouse - The conservative position on the welfare state baffles me and angers me. I am baffled because conservatives despise the thought of a government handout to the poor, but expect a government bailout when their businesses reach dire straights. I am angered because of the duplicity of this attitude. My big beef on this point has been the extortion by millionaire sports franchise owners (largely conservative in ideology and Republican in party affiliation) of state and city coffers to subsidize and guarantee their profit margins. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. One can point to plenty more big business, corporate welfare schemes. It seems I am not alone in noting this irony. The New Republic has commented on this trend, as I've pointed out below. And now Slate's William Saleton writes about this phenomenon as well with regard to the conservative positions in favor of cutting the capital gains tax while also advocating the allowance of greater deductions against tax liability of investment losses. In a nutshell, the gist of Saleton's argument is that "if investors are entitled to keep every dollar they gain in the stock market, it's hard to see why they shouldn't cough up every dollar they lose." Some people are willing to suck it up and take the hit when their investments tank. Others, like sports franchise owners, cry to the government for some relief. Where is the outrage among conservatives regarding this aspect of the welfare game?

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