Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., offered an alternative vision of government in his famous "Roadmap." It was, in the words of New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, a blueprint for a "conservative welfare state." The idea was that the truly needy would be taken care of because they are truly needy, but that middle-class entitlements would be scaled back for two simple reasons: 1) we cannot afford them, and 2) excessive government meddling in areas such as health care increases costs and wastes money.
...Ryan's blueprint was denounced by liberals as too stingy and largely ignored by much of the Republican leadership, who were happy to just say "No" to Obama's plans without offering voters anything serious to say yes to.
William Voegeli, a scholar of impeccable conservative credentials, has joined Ryan's battle in his book Never Enough, a searing indictment of what he calls the Hundred Years' War between the party of more and the party of less. Voegeli argues that American voters (including most Republicans) will never fully eradicate the welfare state because they don't want to. And so conservatives should make peace with the idea that the federal government should help the truly needy, while rejecting both the sorts of middle- and upper-class entitlements that are bankrupting the country and the kind of government "dole" that breeds bad habits among the poor and able-bodied.Voegeli, Goldberg, and Ryan are right.