I’m a secular, french-existentialist literature reading, academic. So it’s not too much of a surprise that the group of folks I hang out with usually do not own a shotgun, pickup truck, and/or a ranch. Put another way, outside of grappling (my “hobby”) I think only a few of my friends are members of the Republican party.
That said, I have been noticing ever since 9/11/2001 (when I started paying attention to politics) that a lot of my friends are not admitted members of the Democratic party either. They vote Democrat for the most part, but admit it slowly and with a sad far-away look in their eyes. There is a natural inclination toward the libertarian ideology among the younger generation. I don’t know if that has to do with them being young, or with the changing values of society. Politics has made people cynical it seems, and the idea that freedom of choice and personal responsibility is an option appeals to more and more people. I think many of these ideas are a bit naive in their optimism, but I often catch myself drawn to them as well.
I wonder if the Republican party will move in that direction in this decade to try to win over the young vote. Ron Paul was an early representative of that movement, and perhaps others will pick up where he left off. I don’t think I would vote for a Libertarian any time soon, but I would very much like to see their voices welcomed in debates, interviews, and C-SPAN-type educational programs in the years to come.
Main point: Democrats raise taxes and overspend. Republicans cut taxes and overspend. The former is at least somewhat more sustainable.
Cutting the top tax rate (currently those making over $370,000) is something that has been promoted by many of the the Republicans currently running for president in the form of a flat tax (or variations of it such as the 9-9-9 plan). There are many arguments for this notion and many against.
It’s possible to point to historical data and claim that such tax cuts either do or do not lead to:
I’m not going to engage in such armchair analysis. I have my opinions, but they are just that, opinions, and are hardly founded in real scientific reasoning.
What I do want to say about it is that human nature and the way that politicians operate makes such tax cuts destructive to our long-term economy. Why? Because they do not pay for themselves in the short term. That means deficits increase. That’s fine, as long as the tax cuts are matched with major cuts in programs. The Republicans talk about cutting “wasteful spending”, but at the end of the day, they cut very little. So if you believe in “small government” you need to wake up a bit and realize that cutting taxes is not the first step to small government. The first step is cutting programs, and 99% of politicians just don’t have the guts to do that.
The problem in a nutshell:
Democrats raise taxes and spend like crazy
Republicans cut taxes and spend like crazy
That’s why I support Democrats that are fine with big government but want to make it more efficient.