The GOP's Civil War About Nothing

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 11 2013 10:20 PM

The GOP's Civil War About Nothing

184066368
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 11: Even I'm on board.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The government shutdown continues to be not just a battle between Democrats and Republicans, but between different factions of the Republican Party. But something worth noting about this much-hyped GOP "civil war" is that it appears to have no real content. The tensions between Ted Cruz and John Boehner and Peter King and Mitch McConnell and whomever are all about tactics. Does it make sense to try to use the shutdown or the looming debt ceiling as leverage to repeal ObamaCare? And if not that, does it make sense to use them to undermine it? And if so, how to undermine it?

What's not under discussion is anything about real policies or goals. It's very different from what you see on foreign policy or national security where Rand Paul and Justin Amash and others have been outlining a libertarian view that's in stark contrast to various more militaristic or "neoconservative" schools of thought.

Advertisement

But on economic policy, beneath the sturm und drang of disagreement there's a remarkable amount of consensus. Republicans all agree that taxes should be lower, and that it's especially important to fight for lower tax rates on high earners who productivity and business investments drive the economy forward. Republicans also all agree that this tax cutting agenda requires less spending on domestic programs. And they agree that programs that bolster the incomes of low-income families (as opposed to, say, farm subsidies or war memorials) are especially pernicious because they subsidize indolence. 

The entire disagreement is about how and when to push this agenda of more money for the rich and less for the struggling. The question of whether this is the right agenda isn't really on the table.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 23 2014 6:00 AM Naked and Afraid Prudie offers advice on whether a young boy should sleep in the same room with his nude grandfather.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Books
Sept. 23 2014 7:14 AM Fighting the Sophomore Slump, Five Novels at a Time Announcing the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.