At issue are accounting tricks that Congress has used in recent years to hide the size of their blowouts. Most federal spending is “mandatory”—dictated by prior law, automatic, and dedicated to long-term programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Congress separately each year sets discretionary spending levels—appropriations bills that set priorities for everything from the Pentagon to education to housing assistance.
In the wake of the Covid spending excess, Democrats (aided by some Republicans) sought to disguise their spending by categorizing some of their discretionary outlays as “mandatory” or “emergency” funding. These dollars go to the same accounts and fund the same projects as any other discretionary spending, but because of their categorization they aren’t counted in the discretionary category.
But the invocation of “right-liberalism” is ironic as well as facile, because the post-liberals who disparage it are unapologetic proponents of actual left-wing policies, such as tariffs, industrial subsidies, and aggressive antitrust action, even against companies that don’t meet the traditional definition of monopolies. It would be no exaggeration to designate this cohort right-progressives. And just about the only thing that makes them right is that they hope to use their power, once attained, to enforce aspects of traditional religious morality rather than left-wing identity politics.
The loudest voices on both sides have been loud throughout the five decades when voters’ voices did not matter because the judiciary rather than legislatures made abortion policy. But the loudest voices have never been the most numerous. An ambivalent majority is permanently troubled by the irresolvable tension between a woman’s claim of personal autonomy and the inviolability of personhood.
A life that is human begins at conception. This is a tenet not of abstruse theology but of elementary biology. This life, with a distinctive genetic imprint, will reach adulthood, absent a natural mishap or a deliberate intervention to end it. The vexing question is: When, if ever, should personhood be ascribed to that life, with legal protections enveloping it, regardless of the woman’s preference?
Remember when they tried to defeat a respiratory virus by sending multiple policemen armed with guns and rifles to arrest someone violating the lockdown by sitting on the beach alone?