Do Republicans understand?

Don Nagasaki
I don't understand why Republicans feel it so necessary to pass any legislation during this lame duck session.  They'll have much greater bargaining power in January when the new congress convenes.  They're already losing the media war -- the tax legislation is referred to as "tax cuts" or "Obama's tax cuts," when in fact it's merely an extension of current tax rates for all Americans (with a bunch of liberal goodies thrown in to convince Democrats to be responsible and not raise taxes in a tough economy). 

Do Republican leaders know that they're supposed to keep fighting for the best possible deal, marketing the issue both publically and privately, and compromising on as little as possible?  Do they know that they should be willing to walk away from the table, at least until a later date?  Is Sarah Palin the only Republican leader who seems to know how to show passion, to market political issues, and to fight?

And tax and spending issues should always be front and center with the GOP.  After all, money represents power, and what's really at stake is how much power (and responsibility) Americans should have versus how much they should give their government.

As for punishing the rich, income tax rates affect income, not wealth.  High taxes don't necessarily hurt the wealthy.  They hurt those who are trying to become wealthy.  The Kennedys and Rockefellers can call for higher taxes on the rich because of their own great wealth.  They can appear generous and caring, knowing that their wealth and lifestyles will remain secure -- i.e., they got theirs, and to hell with those middle-class workers striving to become wealthy as well.

In April 2008, candidate Obama conceded that a cut in the capital gains rate might actually increase tax revenues, but then he said he would raise it anyway for the sake of "fairness."  For liberals, making "the rich" pay more in taxes is their way of demonstrating their fairness and goodness.  Of course, it's very easy to be good and compassionate with other people's money.

Conservatives tend to turn wonkish and start quoting statistics and studies showing the effects of raising or lowering taxes on tax revenues, businesses, and employment.  But there's a moral case to be made for government officials to "allow" the people to keep more of "their" hard-earned money.

Even if you aren't a Christian, the Bible is a wonderful source of wisdom and rules for life.  Most of the Bible's contents concern rules for individual behavior.  Jesus never advocated a giant Roman welfare state or the semi-socialist state envisioned by President Obama as a means of goodness or redemption.  The commandment "thou shalt not covet" comes to mind as I observe the fight over "tax cuts for the rich."  What the Democrats are doing, besides demagoguing the issue and pitting one group of Americans against another, is legitimizing, promoting, and legislating envy.

As long as the U.S. maintains a system that makes it legally and realistically possible for anyone to become financially independent, such demagoguery is wrong.  If Oprah Winfrey decided to fill up her pool(s) with $100 bills and go swimming, it's really none of my business.  Oprah owes me nothing.  And I felt this way even when I was poor.

I once read an article that asked these important questions for liberals: As a parent, would you encourage your kids and their friends to use force or the threat of force to take money or toys away from a kid who comes from a more affluent family?  No?  Well then why do you encourage them to do this (through the government) as adults?

Dan Nagasaki is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Conservative Politics.
I don't understand why Republicans feel it so necessary to pass any legislation during this lame duck session.  They'll have much greater bargaining power in January when the new congress convenes.  They're already losing the media war -- the tax legislation is referred to as "tax cuts" or "Obama's tax cuts," when in fact it's merely an extension of current tax rates for all Americans (with a bunch of liberal goodies thrown in to convince Democrats to be responsible and not raise taxes in a tough economy). 

Do Republican leaders know that they're supposed to keep fighting for the best possible deal, marketing the issue both publically and privately, and compromising on as little as possible?  Do they know that they should be willing to walk away from the table, at least until a later date?  Is Sarah Palin the only Republican leader who seems to know how to show passion, to market political issues, and to fight?

And tax and spending issues should always be front and center with the GOP.  After all, money represents power, and what's really at stake is how much power (and responsibility) Americans should have versus how much they should give their government.

As for punishing the rich, income tax rates affect income, not wealth.  High taxes don't necessarily hurt the wealthy.  They hurt those who are trying to become wealthy.  The Kennedys and Rockefellers can call for higher taxes on the rich because of their own great wealth.  They can appear generous and caring, knowing that their wealth and lifestyles will remain secure -- i.e., they got theirs, and to hell with those middle-class workers striving to become wealthy as well.

In April 2008, candidate Obama conceded that a cut in the capital gains rate might actually increase tax revenues, but then he said he would raise it anyway for the sake of "fairness."  For liberals, making "the rich" pay more in taxes is their way of demonstrating their fairness and goodness.  Of course, it's very easy to be good and compassionate with other people's money.

Conservatives tend to turn wonkish and start quoting statistics and studies showing the effects of raising or lowering taxes on tax revenues, businesses, and employment.  But there's a moral case to be made for government officials to "allow" the people to keep more of "their" hard-earned money.

Even if you aren't a Christian, the Bible is a wonderful source of wisdom and rules for life.  Most of the Bible's contents concern rules for individual behavior.  Jesus never advocated a giant Roman welfare state or the semi-socialist state envisioned by President Obama as a means of goodness or redemption.  The commandment "thou shalt not covet" comes to mind as I observe the fight over "tax cuts for the rich."  What the Democrats are doing, besides demagoguing the issue and pitting one group of Americans against another, is legitimizing, promoting, and legislating envy.

As long as the U.S. maintains a system that makes it legally and realistically possible for anyone to become financially independent, such demagoguery is wrong.  If Oprah Winfrey decided to fill up her pool(s) with $100 bills and go swimming, it's really none of my business.  Oprah owes me nothing.  And I felt this way even when I was poor.

I once read an article that asked these important questions for liberals: As a parent, would you encourage your kids and their friends to use force or the threat of force to take money or toys away from a kid who comes from a more affluent family?  No?  Well then why do you encourage them to do this (through the government) as adults?

Dan Nagasaki is the author of The Beginner's Guide to Conservative Politics.