STUDY: U.S. policy has moved increasingly left over the last 70 years

Matt Grossman is a political scientist at Michigan State University. Last week he published an interesting op-ed in The Washington Post enttitled “U.S. policy has gone liberals’ way for 70 years.”

It shreds the establishment Republicans’ claims that moderate, centrist positions are a path to electoral victory. The reason?

Conservatives in Congress are the prime suspects in Washington’s dysfunction. Veteran congressional watchdogs Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann called the previous session the “worst Congress ever,” and they did not hold back in assigning blame: “The Republicans are the problem,” they said. After a fruitless government shutdown last fall, even House Speaker John Boehner lashed out at conservative groups and passed bills over the opposition of his caucus.

In response, conservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.

The reason: the progressive left has framed the debate and the playing field for decades leaving the GOP to play non-stop defense.

…Of the 509 most significant domestic policies passed by Congress, only one in five were conservative, in that they contracted the scope of government funding, regulation or responsibility. More than 60 percent were liberal: They clearly expanded government. The others offered a mix of liberal or conservative components or took no clear ideological direction. When significant policy change occurs in the executive branch, it is even less likely to be conservative; only 10 percent of the executive orders and agency rules that policy historians cited were conservative.

Even labeling as conservative policy government expansions in pursuit of conservative goals, such as traditional values or tougher sentencing,
makes little difference in this conclusion; few significant policy changes fall into this category, though we hear about them often in campaigns…

In other words, when Congress acts it is almost invariably expanding government, not constraining it.

There is a good reason why conservatives are often charged with obstruction. When government is more active, it is usually moving policy to the left. When Congress has doubled its normal productivity, many more liberal laws pass but not necessarily more conservative laws. There was only one session of Congress, the two years after the Republican takeover in 1994, that was both active and conservative, but it did not last. Under President Ronald Reagan, the executive branch made more conservative policy changes only during the first two years of his presidency. Productive policymaking means more domestic spending, more business regulation and wider government responsibility.

The view that normal legislating and bipartisan compromises lead to expanded government is no tea party illusion; it is an accurate reading of the past 70 years.

…the federal government has continually expanded its role in education, civil rights, the environment and health care — and Republican presidents have played large roles in this. Nixon entrenched the Great Society and oversaw the environmental revolution. Reagan was less active domestically but signed more government expansions than contractions. President George H.W. Bush brought us landmarks such as the Americans with Disabilities Act, and his son brought us No Child Left Behind and a new Medicare entitlement.

This history does not bother some Republicans, who see opportunities to fashion new ideas and bargain in pursuit of conservative objectives. But even past policymaking designed to promote markets, safeguard morality and protect the homeland usually expanded government. If contraction is the goal, a positive policy agenda is unlikely to succeed…. The arc of the policy universe is long, but it bends toward liberalism. Conservatives can slow the growth of government but an enduring shift in policy direction would be unprecedented. History shows that a do-nothing Congress is a conservative’s best-case scenario.

All of this tells me that the only way to constrain government is to convene an Article V Convention of the States and to pass amendments similar to those described in The Liberty Amendments.

The federal government seems incapable of controlling itself, so it is incumbent upon the states to do so.

Hat tip: Mark Levin

Doug Ross @ Journal

Larwyn’s Linx: Where Do We Go From Here America?       Will There Be Anything Left?

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Nation

Where Do We Go From Here America? Will There Be Anything Left?: Sher Zieve
Parting Company: Walter Williams
NSA Spying: Herschel Smith

The Viral Photo out of CT that’s given some gun owners chills: Blaze
There Ain’t No More Middle-Ground: Daniel Greenfield
“The state police (are) investigating.”: SSI

The Year Washington Fled Reality: Sen. Tom Coburn
Bush Approach to Government – Noise Based on Ignorance: Jen Kuznicki
Bloomberg leaves office today, protected by firearms: Chris Cox

Economy

Hit Piece Journalism: Thomas Sowell
Chicago: The Next Detroit: Ushanka
What to expect in 2014: Ben Shapiro

The Progressive Agenda Crashes into Complexity: J.R. Dunn
Obamacare’s Biggest Whopper: Betsy McCaughey
Obama notes buying a second dog as an accomplishment for 2013: BPR

Scandal Central

Yet Another Eric Holder, Fast & Furious Gun Turns up at Deadly Shooting: Blaze
Obama’s Knockout Game: Crockett Lives
Newark mayoral hopeful Ras Baraka wrote letters on behalf of notorious gang boss: WyBlog

Climate & Energy

A Few Easy Tests to Debunk Global Warming Hysteria: Chet Richards
Media cover-up: warmist scientists trapped by ice are just “tourists”: Blazing Cat Fur
That’s A Lot Of Quid Pro Quo Going Up In Smoke: SDA

WUWT, WeatherBell help KUSI-TV with weather forecast for ice-trapped ship in Antarctica: WUWT

Media

New York Times Attempts to Blur Benghazi Scandal: AIM
Failure: Defense Expert Tells WSJ-NY Times Benghazi Piece Backfired on The Paper: Jeff Dunetz
Rapist Logic: Juliette Ochieng

Profiles in Hypocrisy: Rhymes with Right
A Stimulus Plan That Is Too Good To Be True: Cosmocon
Obamacare is a Noble Effort: American and Proud

Attention Joy Reid: The Knockout Game Is A Real Trend That Deserves Our Attention: Nice Deb
Because @Deanofcomedy Isn’t Funny: R.S. McCain
CAMERA Prompts Washington Post Correction on Israel’s Christians: CAMERA

World

Moscow Mayor Says No More Mosques Will Be Built in the City: RWN
Xi Jinping preparing the PLA for war: Xinhua commentary: WantChinaTimes
France: The Looming Battle over Muslim Integration: Soeren Kern

New U.S. Tax Regime is “Devastating,” Experts Say: NewAm
Operation Empty Chair: SDA
Spot the Dictator: Western Rifles

Sci-Tech (courtesy BadBlue Tech News)

Bitcoin Takes On Gold: RWN
I, Glasshole: My Year With Google Glass: Mat Honan
One of a Kind Holiday Gifts: Woman Honor Thyself

Cornucopia

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act…: Bluebird of Bitterness
Reflections: Fix Bayonets
Resignation Speech of George Washington: WWTFT

Image: BeHoLD THe GRiM MaRKeT ReaPeR…
Today’s Larwyn’s Linx sponsored by: Please Support the Senate Conservatives Fund

QOTD: “All battles for the soul begin with culture. And while the battle against Obama’s unprecedented growth of government started with the tea party victories of 2010, the cultural battle against the left didn’t truly take until 2013. The seeds were planted for this cultural battle in earnest in 2012, when Obama and his Democratic Party allies put race, sexual orientation and abortion at the core of his reelection campaign. Americans were told by the media that Obama’s competence mattered less than the fact that half the country was mean, nasty, racist and homophobic. Todd Akin’s absurd comments on conception via rape were the issue, Americans were told, not the imminent takeover of the health care system; Obama’s sudden support for same-sex marriage was the issue, not his devastating regulatory state; George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin were the issue, not the destruction of entire swaths of the United States via leftist governance.

And it worked. Conservative Americans, bludgeoned into silence on cultural battles, decided to focus entirely on Obama’s economic buffoonery. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work; culture, as my friend Andrew Breitbart was fond of stating, is upstream of politics.

2013 marked a turning point. From Chick-fil-A to “Duck Dynasty,” conservative religious Americans found their footing: Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage, it is plainly un-American to override someone’s religious beliefs in the name of your politics. Conservative Americans seemed to realize, for the first time in a long time, that the battle over same-sex marriage came wrapped in a larger battle over religious freedom. And they fought back, and won.” –Ben Shapiro

Doug Ross @ Journal

THANK A DETROITOCRAT: The Number of Americans Who Left the Labor Force Hits Another All-Time High

I’m trying to get the term “Detroitocrats” — referring, of course, to the members of the hard left Democrat Party who ruin everything they touch — popularized. Today’s jobs report can only help my cause.

…The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation’s labor force has climbed to a record 90,609,000 in September…

…In January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, there were 80,507,000 Americans not in the labor force. Thus, the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 10,102,000 during Obama’s presidency…

Please take a closer look at the chart. Notice that around May of 2010, when Obamacare was jammed through Congress without a single Republican vote, the labor-force participation rate started heading south. And it hasn’t let up since.

In fact, less than 150,000 people in the U.S. — total — found work last month. That’s less than 3,000 people per state — or about the number of people who attend a high school football game.

…just 148,000 people found work last month.

“I think it is an absolute disaster,” says Brian Sozzi, chief equity strategist at Belus Capital Advisors in the attached video, where he calls today’s release a “horrifically depressing report.”
As Sozzi sees it, “there’s stuff going on out there in the economy that nobody is talking about.”

Specifically, he cites the need to listen to what companies such as Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) and Hasbro (HAS) are telling us this earnings season, and to take heed of the restructuring plans, earnings misses, and soft revenue results.

The Detroitocrat Party is literally turning all of America into Detroit.

They have no blueprint, no master plan, no overarching document describing their endgame they can share with us. They will continue to tinker, to social-engineer, to “fix” society using increasingly totalitarian methods to address the “non-compliant”.

And like D.C., like Chicago, and — yes — like Detroit and all of the other bankrupt cities in California, jobs, opportunity and hope will disappear from the landscape like a wheat field devastated by a swarm of locusts.

Hat tip: BadBlue News.

Doug Ross @ Journal