[This post is another of my comments that got out of hand.]
This Republicans phony Tax Reform Bill is only Step One of the Great Pillaging. As Steve Bannon has openly admitted, Step Two is the Destruction of the Administrative State, a destruction that is already well underway. That includes the Destruction of the Social Welfare component of the administrative state. Actually, this is nothing new. Since the Thirties, conservatives have been bent on destroying Social Security that was put in place to counter the dire consequences of the Great Depression and financial reforms intended to at least restrain the worst impulses and excesses of the vulture capitalist class.
What is less well-known is that the social welfare policies put in place under FDR and the Democrats weren't simply much-needed programs to keep old people from starving; these policies were also a way of staving-off the push toward Communism in the US. Indeed, public sentiment, and intellectual sentiment in particular, began to lean heavily in favor of communism in the Thirties. The proof of just how strong was that sentiment was the reactionary McCarthyite backlash of the Fifties.
Today's so-called Conservatives – and here I have in mind Ayn Rand acolytes like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul – should thank their lucky stars for FDR and his social welfare programs. But alas, they are blithely ignorant of history and of true conservatism, as espoused by every conservative thinker from Thomas Hobbes to Adam Smith. These men rightly understood and wrote that the only legitimate purpose of government is the protection of the people and promotion of the Commonweal.
The Founders echoed that proposition in the Preamble to the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
But instead of true conservatism, we are cursed with the politics of greed conservatism of the Paulists and the reactionary conservatism of the so-called Freedom Caucus. This gaggle of half-wits and shallow-thinkers has set this country on a path far, far removed from that the Founders envisioned, the path of "I got mine, screw you" politics of supposedly enlightened self-interest.
Theirs is not the politics of freedom – it is the politics of servitude ... it is not the politics of conservatism – it is the politics of nihilism ... and in the long run, it is not even the politics of unenlightened self-interest – it is the politics of self-destruction.