The Conservative Party in the UK is experiencing a pre-election backlash against its planned ‘austerity budget’ cuts to entitlement spending in the country.Republicans are beginning to push for similar austerity moves in the United States, starting last week with Republican Senator Jim Bunning’s assault on long-term unemployment benefits.
If there is a lesson in this for Republicans, it is that they can go too far down the road of fiscal conservatism and upset many of the voters who they need to attract in the next election, such as unemployed Americans upset over the way the country is going economically.
But by taking away their unemployment benefits, the Republicans are sure to aggravate some potential swing voters and drive them into the arms of the party who is trying to protect their entitlements, the Democrats.
2010 could shape up to be a run to the centre, where cuts on entitlements are off the agenda, but the idea of fiscal restraint is bandied about with faux-sincerity.
This is what is playing out in the UK right now, but could be maximized by year end in the U.S. midterms if unemployment remains steady. The Republicans may want to start distancing themselves from the far right ‘tea-partiers’ as soon as possible.
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