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July 8, 2010

Sometimes a Great Reversal

After World War IIEuropean Social Democrats — the heirs of Karl Marx’s delusional vision — broke with their heritage. They rewrote their political principles, compromising. No longer would they go for socialism whole hog; they abandoned its key feature,the replacement of markets with total government control.
This was a great moment for modern civilization. It bequeathed Europe (and, perhaps, America) a clunky and intrusive (and unsustainable) welfare states, sure . . . but that’s far, far better than Communism.
We may be witnessing a similar groundswell of ideological shift in America’s stronghold of the status quo, the media. This week the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times endorsed budgetary rules that would take power and unlimited budgetary discretion from California’s out-of-control legislature:

It’s unfortunate that automated budgeting is necessary. But it is necessary. The state must continue to invest in the social welfare of its people, but we must do it in accordance with California’s projected growth so that we do not repeatedly yank from the young, the elderly and the poor the very services that we provided only a year or two before.

This may not sound revolutionary. But, as Tim Cavanaugh put it on Reason magazine’s Hit and Run, the Times — long an opponent of spending limits — has “acknowledge[d] clearly and publicly that out-of-control spending, not insufficient tax revenue, is suffocating the Golden State.”
And that is revolutionary. Not American Founder-revolutionary, but Social Democrat-compromise-y revolutionary.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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