The Republican Party’s Core Beliefs

December 13, 2012

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One of the most interesting things about the modern Republican Party is their strange penchant for pushing and/or believing in ideas that can be factually proven as incorrect or at the very least incompatible with their “core beliefs.” I’m not entirely sure what Republican “core beliefs” are, but from what I can gather from Fox News snippets and what my friends say, they want small government, low taxes, and lots of personal freedom – or at least the freedom for their state to choose what defines personal freedom.

On the first issue, small government, let me start out by saying that the single biggest expansion of federal government since FDR came from … no. Not Barack Obama. Not Bill Clinton, either. It wasn’t Jimmy Carter. Not even JFK. The single biggest expansion of the US Government came from George W. Bush and his creation of the Homeland Security Department . The Reagan administration, after lambasting Jimmy Carter during the 1980 presidential campaign for governmental spending, actually spent MORE than Carter did.  So according to what they say, Republicans favor small government and lowering government spending, but according to what they do, they actually increase government size and spend more? I wonder why Mitch McConnell is so intent on criticizing President Obama for government spending, yet he voted along with the vast majority of George W. Bush’s spending, and Bush’s rate of spending was higher than Obama’s.  I don’t remember him ever once criticizing Bush’s spending record.


Next we get to Republicans wanting low taxes. This one they actually seem to deliver on, wanting to lower taxes across the board, but especially on those poor, overburdened millionaires. Yet the reasons they claim taxes should go down just don’t seem to mesh with reality. First and foremost they say that so-called “job creators” aren’t hiring because their tax burden is too crushing. Yet history disagrees with that assessment – in fact whenever the marginal tax rate on upper brackets is lowered history has shown lower growth. In fact the Congressional Research Office came to the same conclusion:

There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth. Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth.

I would love to get Mitch McConnell or John Boehner in a room and get their opinions on those facts.

Finally we get to the issue on personal freedom. One of the Tea Parties greatest cries against that “socialist, fascist” Obama is that he’s crushing our personal freedoms. As I wrote about in my last article, the NRA supported Mitt Romney in this most recent presidential election, dredging up scary stories that Obama was going to be personally taking all your guns and this was despite the fact that in Obama’s first term he actually loosened gun laws, and in Mitt Romney’s term as governor he signed a gun restricting bill into law.

In addition, Republicans seem to be on the side of banning “gay marriage” (or as my gay friends call it, “marriage”) despite the fact that no factual evidence to say it’s better or worse than heterosexual marriage. Go ahead, search the internet and find a non-biased site that offers peer-reviewed and cited facts showing somehow that men marrying men or women marrying women is somehow worse for society, children or the marriage itself. If it’s no worse for people, does not infringe upon others, and is not being forced on society (legalizing same-sex unions will not force churches to marry anyone), why is it being suppressed by Republicans?

Finally on the personal freedom issue, I was very happy to see that Washington State has legalized marijuana for recreational use. Two of the most recent Republican presidential candidates agreed with me. Ron Paul and Gary Johnson actually said they would not only legalize marijuana but also consider even more sweeping changes such as ending the war on drugs and pardoning anyone in prison for non-violent marijuana crimes.  Sadly the rest of the mainstream Republican candidates ranged from a non-stance – Rick Perry stating he’s personally against any use, but ok with states deciding medical use – to a psychotically harsh stance -Newt Gingrich sponsoring a bill that would see the death penalty used for people importing more than 2 ounces.  Seeing as there’s little evidence that marijuana is worse for you than alcohol or tobacco and much stands to be gained from the taxation of legal marijuana, including a drastic reduction in violent crime, I wonder once again why Republicans would go against their stance on personal freedom here.

So to sum it up, I have a hard time giving any support or even credibility to a political party that says one thing and then does the polar opposite. I’d actually LOVE to see a more viable Republican party because frankly I’m sick of the vast majority of Democratic politicians. As a friend of mine says often, “We don’t need a 3rd political party, we need a 2nd one.”


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Christmas And Consumerism

December 5, 2011

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Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday; have you participated to the fullest?  We have been told to spend, and from the news reports we have.  The reports have not directly stated that the season is looking good for retailers, but since there are no stories on the collapse of the American economy, then by deduction, things are good.  Now if the Europeans would just start spending like Americans, the world economy will recover.  That was sarcasm for readers who missed it.

The news has been concentrating on the apparent melt down of the European economy that was “saved” by the United States Federal Reserve making it easier for European banks to convert U.S. Dollars and borrow more money.  I guess I need to go back to college to understand how borrowing more money will get people out of debt.  It has never worked for me, but then I am just a fool who tries to live within the salary I am earning.

I have heard several reports on various media claiming that the states that have implemented spending cuts over the last two years are either recovering dramatically from the economic slow down or collapsing even faster.  Since none of these reports include any source data, it is difficult to sort through the political posturing to figure out what is actually happening.  I am waiting form NPR or Front Line to put out a comprehensive report.  Those outlets usually include detailed references, but you have to wait until the noise has died down before they can complete the task.

I have always suggested living within your means, both at a personal level and through our representative governments.  I do hope that each of you did participate in the holiday push for retail sales, if you could afford it that is.  Spending, actually exchanging money for goods and services is how the economies of the world work and will recover.  We can each do our parts as long as we act responsibly.  This is true every day of the year, not just at Christmas, this is just when it is advertised most.

There is a second part to the holiday season, not just Christmas, but all of the major religious events of this season, and that is charity.  Charity is giving to the needy out of your perceived duty based on your code of morals, most often instilled through your family and church.  Charity, but definition, cannot come from government where the money is taken from citizens and then redistributed.  That is aid and is also necessary.  Charity is individual, both for the giver and the receiver.  Give what you can, support your favorite charities, but please, in the spirit of the season, do not tell people what the “have” to do.