Here’s what he writes: Compassionate conservatism failed politically because it “offered nothing to the working-class whites whose votes determined the outcome in Midwestern states. … They weren’t members of Baptist, Methodist, or nondenominational Christian churches. They weren’t poor so the Bush administration’s focus on helping the poor didn’t affect their daily lives. … Suppose you were a non-evangelical trucker or a cashier listening to the radio while ‘W’ spoke about compassionate conservatism. Did you hear anything during the talk that made you think he cared about people like you?”
Turning to today, Olsen writes, “Reagan would want to cut the federal budget, especially since a number of programs he always tried to cut such as farm subsidies and the Export-Import Bank remain part of the federal government. [He would find] ways to cut spending within entitlements without endangering core social commitments.” For example, part of the $200 billion in disability spending each year is not for disabled people but people over 55 who have lost their jobs, feel useless, and are—surprise, surprise—depressed. Challenging, personal, and spiritual help could reinvigorate lives—and save billions.