“Generosity is a reflection of what one does with his or her own resources and not what he or she advocates the government do with everyone else’s.” — Ronald Reagan
Last week during the Vice-Presidential debate, I was shocked by some of the responses that I saw on Twitter. To sum it up without the frequent misspellings, grammatical errors, and expletives, many misinformed Liberals claimed that Republicans do not care about poor Americans. In my opinion, this is simply not true. I hope that everyone who believes this widespread misconception will read this post and hopefully realize that conservatives do care about the poor.
First, there is a huge difference between those who have the ability to provide for themselves and choose not to and those who are physically unable to provide for themselves. Republicans believe that if you can provide for yourself, you should. A core belief of Republican ideology is personal responsibility. Essentially, we believe in responsibility and independence. We believe that both your successes and your failures are due to your own choices in life. America is a vast land of opportunity. Americans have more opportunities for success than anywhere else in the world. All too often, we fail to appreciate this.
That being said, America is in no way perfect. This is why Republicans want to create more economic opportunity. America has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and one of the least hospitable business environments. For this reason, Republicans want to lower taxes and repeal unnecessary business regulations and restrictions. We also want to reform the education system so that American students are more prepared for a globally competitive job market. Some ways Republicans want to do this is through a merit-based pay system for teachers and allowing students to choose to attend a charter school or private school if these schools would provide them with a higher quality education than their local public school. We want to make the school system competitive in order to drive progress and success.
Additionally, Republicans base much of their platform on the basic economic concept of incentives. When we provide welfare, public housing, food stamps, and unemployment benefits, it decreases the incentive and initiative to work or innovate. Additionally, government is perpetuating a culture of dependency. Think about it this way: if you were taking an extremely difficult class and had 2 options, Option A automatically passing no matter what you do or Option B having to complete tons of hard work, think deeply, and devote an immense amount of time as well as blood, sweat, and tears into passing, which would you choose?
The same basic concept applies for taxes. Government placed high taxes on cigarettes in part to stop Americans from smoking. So when the government applies high income taxes, how is this any different? Under President Carter, the top tax rate was 70%. By the end of his second term, President Reagan reduced it to 28%. He also dramatically cut taxes for all other incomes across the board. Instead of tax revenue decreasing as would seem logical, it doubled. For any of you taking economics, this employs the Laffer Curve principle.
Now that I discussed how and why Republicans believe that those who can do for themselves should, let?s talk about those who are unable to do so.
Republicans do not want poor Americans to die on the street! However, the key difference between the Democrat and Republican philosophy for helping the poor is that Republicans believe sometimes these issues are best dealt with privately and Democrats believe that the government should take care of the poor.
Republicans put their money where their mouth is on this issue. Studies have consistently proven that Republicans donate more time and money to charity than Democrats. Governor Romney in fact donated 29% of his income, $4 million dollars, to charity last year. Although this is a very broad generalization, Democrats often think you can fix a problem by just funding government programs (see quote at the beginning of this post). Republicans on the other hand, want to personally help causes that they care about. Is it because Republicans are just inherently more altruistic in nature than Democrats or have a bigger heart? I do not think so. It goes back to the parties? core fundamental differences in which Democrats think that government is the best solution and Republicans think that private organizations are consistently more effective, efficient, and fiscally responsible than government.
Under President Obama, we have a 7.8% unemployment rate, 46 million Americans receiving food stamps, an average decrease in income of $4,000, soaring gas prices, a $16 trillion national debt, and about 1 in 6 Americans living in poverty. You simply cannot say that President Obama and the Democrats are helping the middle class or the lower class with these statistics. Also, you cannot bring the bottom up by bringing the top down. We should be bringing everyone up, not punishing a social class for their hard work and success. That being said, as Republicans we do not want to leave the poor to die as so many misinformed people think. Rather, we want to create economic opportunity and more upward mobility for those who can do for themselves. For those who are genuinely unable to provide for themselves, we absolutely want to help them! However, we believe that private organizations are often more efficient, effective, and fiscally responsible than government which reflects the core principle of the Republican Party that the American people are better suited to solve problems than government.
I hope this helps you understand more of the conservative perspective! Please leave comments below and share with your friends.