Richard Cohen’s confusion about Republicans

January 4, 2013

I was intrigued by op-ed columnist Richard Cohen’s condemnation of a political philosophy that “insists that government must be small (an impossibility!), education must be local (a stupidity) and that debt, no matter what the reason, is immoral and reckless” [“Republicans adrift,” Jan. 1].

I hope that Mr. Cohen will explain why it’s impossible for government to limit itself to addressing problems that only government can solve, and why it’s stupid to believe that teaching children — a very localized service — shouldn’t be administered by the central government of a highly diverse, continent-wide nation.

I also hope that he identifies the political philosophy that asserts that all public debt is immoral and reckless, as I don’t know of one. I do, however, know many politicians across the political spectrum who don’t want Americans to pay their fair share for the public services they consume. Is Mr. Cohen certain that he hasn’t confused the latter with the former?

For that matter, is he certain that he hasn’t confused ideas that are impossible and stupid with ideas that are simply contrary to the preferences of America’s socioeconomically privileged?

Thomas A. Firey, Harrisburg, Pa.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Maryland Public Policy Institute in Rockville.

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