The GOP's Civil War About Nothing

Moneybox
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

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Dear Prudence
Oct. 23 2014 6:00 AM Monster Kids from poorer neighborhoods keep coming to trick-or-treat in mine. Do I have to give them candy?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 8:51 AM The Male-Dominated Culture of Business in Tech Is Not Great for Women
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 9:00 AM Exclusive Premiere: Key & Peele Imagines the Dark Side of the Make-A-Wish Program
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 23 2014 7:30 AM Our Solar System and Galaxy … Seen by an Astronaut
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.