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George Will: Liberalism’s decline began with cliff deal. Do you agree?

Posted: January 8, 2013 at 9:18 am   /   by

First, watch:

Will makes two arguments here.

The first is that the left has essentially conceded on the tax argument. Democrats voted in overwhelming numbers to lock in the Bush-era tax rates for 99.5% of taxpayers permanently (or at least as permanent as anything can get in DC). Yes, there was a lot of garbage in the deal too, but this aspect is, in the main, a victory on much of the tax argument.

But the second, and more important point Will makes is that by doing this—by locking in lower tax rates on the middle class, the Democrats have ensured the demise of the welfare state. A welfare/entitlement state of the size we’re currently running cannot be sustained without massive borrowing and heavy taxation of the middle class. Obama and the Democrats like to demagogue the notion of the rich paying “their fair share,” but the truth is, there aren’t that many super-rich people and they only have so much money to take. To fund the kind of entitlement state the left wants, they’d need to tap into the middle class, and they just made that impossible.

Both of these arguments were made by the commentators featured in Fiscal Cliff Deal, Part 2: Silver Linings a couple of days ago. And, needless to say, I have been making variations of the second point since I wrote Rome, America, and the Collapse of the Welfare State.

So what do YOU think? Is this the beginning of the end for liberalism? Or, will the collapse of the welfare state be so spectacular that it will smash our economy, leaving the left free to blame capitalism and get people behind a move to institute more statist/socialist policies as a result?


See also . . .

Democrats Furious… Because Taxes Went Up? (OOPS!)

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook


  1. gamecock says:

    I can’t agree for several reasons. Firstly, that Americans re-hired  a failed liberal presiding over a jobs depression. Second, that liberals, ie Democrats, can impose all kinds of fees/taxes via regulations that Congress doesn’t have to pass.

    1. @ gamecock Yes, they can. But what happens if that’s not enough and the edifice of welfare-state quasi-capitalism simply cannot be sustained and it collapses?

  2. William says:

    No Congress can bound future congresses to keep the cuts “Permanent.” I wish they could, but I don’t think they can.

    1. @ William Yes, that is what we meant by “or at least as permanent as anything can get in DC.” In this case, it just means that while the Bush-era EGTRRA tax rates had a built-in sunset, these do not.

George Will: Liberalism's decline began with cliff deal. Do you agree?