The Democratic Platform

The Democrats have entitled their platform “Moving America Forward,” employing a classic progressive metaphor.  (Maybe it’s just trying to win over Wisconsin, whose motto is “Forward.”)  Read the whole thing.  (This is the Platform Committee version, without the references to “God” or “Jerusalem.”)  From the introduction:

Four years ago, Democrats, independents, and many Republicans came together as Americans to move our country forward. We were in the midst of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, the previous administration had put two wars on our nation’s credit card, and the American Dream had slipped out of reach for too many.
Today, our economy is growing again, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11, and our manufacturing sector is growing for the first time in more than a decade. But there is more we need to do, and so we come together again to continue what we started. We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.
This election is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two fundamentally different paths for our country and our families.
We Democrats offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out. Mitt Romney and the Republican Party have a drastically different vision. They still believe the best way to grow the economy is from the top down – the same approach that benefited the wealthy few but crashed the economy and crushed the middle class.
Democrats see a young country continually made stronger by the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity in the world, and a nation of people drawn to our shores from every corner of the globe. We believe America can succeed because the American people have never failed and there is nothing that together we cannot accomplish.
Reclaiming the economic security of the middle class is the challenge we must overcome today. That begins by restoring the basic values that made our country great, and restoring for everyone who works hard and plays by the rules the opportunity to find a job that pays the bills, turn an idea into a profitable business, care for your family, afford a home you call your own and health care you can count on, retire with dignity and respect, and, most of all, give your children the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger and go even further than you ever imagined.
This has to be our North Star – an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class, and that provides ladders of opportunity for those working hard to join the middle class.
This is not another trivial political argument. It’s the defining issue of our time and at the core of the American Dream. And now we stand at a make-or-break moment, and are faced with a choice between moving forward and falling back.

How would you parse this?  What else do you find in this document?  (Check out what it says about abortion, how it defends the state of the economy, etc.)  As a piece of political rhetoric, how persuasive is it?  (We’ll give the Republican platform the same scrutiny.)

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Michael B.

    There’s so much in that statement that ought to be complete common sense, and yet it’s actually controversial. For example, not giving millionaires more tax breaks when we have record debts. Or this statement: “We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise,that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go
    broke because they get sick.”

  • Michael B.

    There’s so much in that statement that ought to be complete common sense, and yet it’s actually controversial. For example, not giving millionaires more tax breaks when we have record debts. Or this statement: “We believe accessible, affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise,that Americans should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go
    broke because they get sick.”

  • WebMonk

    How would I parse this? Let’s see:

    Four years ago…… *yawn*

    There. All done.

    Ditto for the Republican platform.

  • WebMonk

    How would I parse this? Let’s see:

    Four years ago…… *yawn*

    There. All done.

    Ditto for the Republican platform.

  • helen

    The “North Star” state is Minnesota, I think. (It’s been a long time since 6th grade history.)

  • helen

    The “North Star” state is Minnesota, I think. (It’s been a long time since 6th grade history.)

  • Carl Vehse

    “This has to be our North Star – an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class”

    In the context of being a directional guiding point, the “North Star” is, by definition, “top down.” Thus the use of the phrase is somewhat oxymoronic.

    It is doubtful that “North Star” was a reference to the name of the 19th century abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave. But Douglass was not a Democrat, and, in fact, was the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in the 1888 Republican National Convention in Chicago at which Douglass was an invited speaker.

    More likely, it’s just part of the Demonicrat platform jabberwocky.

  • Carl Vehse

    “This has to be our North Star – an economy that’s built not from the top down, but from a growing middle class”

    In the context of being a directional guiding point, the “North Star” is, by definition, “top down.” Thus the use of the phrase is somewhat oxymoronic.

    It is doubtful that “North Star” was a reference to the name of the 19th century abolitionist newspaper of Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave. But Douglass was not a Democrat, and, in fact, was the first African American to receive a vote for President of the United States in the 1888 Republican National Convention in Chicago at which Douglass was an invited speaker.

    More likely, it’s just part of the Demonicrat platform jabberwocky.

  • SKPeterson

    The most glaring thing is that as Michale B. notes, many of these things are self-evident, or rather they are platitudes. Leaving aside the debacle and mishmash of incoherent thinking surrounding healthcare, the rest of the platform is generic feel-goodery. The devil in the details is that the Democrats usually propose policies and “top down” government intervention that actively works against the very things they say they are for.

  • SKPeterson

    The most glaring thing is that as Michale B. notes, many of these things are self-evident, or rather they are platitudes. Leaving aside the debacle and mishmash of incoherent thinking surrounding healthcare, the rest of the platform is generic feel-goodery. The devil in the details is that the Democrats usually propose policies and “top down” government intervention that actively works against the very things they say they are for.

  • MarkB

    Michael B @ 1
    While there may be some self-evident things in the Democratic platform, as SKPeterson @ 5 says. I certainly do not agree that the two instances you put in your post are self-evident.

    Taking more money from millionaires is not. Why should anyone be taxed at a rate that is higher than everyone else? Why is it considered fair to take the possessions of anyone to give to another? How do you justify the theft of a person’s possessions to be compassionate to another, especially to make a third party feel or look good?

    As to health care, where is it a universal right to have health care? Why not just compell doctors, nurses, technicians and the companies and workers who make the medical devices to do it for free? Health care is not a right. If someone is so worried about the health of an individual, why not do something yourself instead of compelling someone else to care for them. How is compelling someone else to pay for a third person’s health care show compassion on your part?

    And add to this there is nothing in our constitution that allows for these types of “complete common sense.”

  • MarkB

    Michael B @ 1
    While there may be some self-evident things in the Democratic platform, as SKPeterson @ 5 says. I certainly do not agree that the two instances you put in your post are self-evident.

    Taking more money from millionaires is not. Why should anyone be taxed at a rate that is higher than everyone else? Why is it considered fair to take the possessions of anyone to give to another? How do you justify the theft of a person’s possessions to be compassionate to another, especially to make a third party feel or look good?

    As to health care, where is it a universal right to have health care? Why not just compell doctors, nurses, technicians and the companies and workers who make the medical devices to do it for free? Health care is not a right. If someone is so worried about the health of an individual, why not do something yourself instead of compelling someone else to care for them. How is compelling someone else to pay for a third person’s health care show compassion on your part?

    And add to this there is nothing in our constitution that allows for these types of “complete common sense.”

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    If they really cared about the middle class, they drop their idiotic energy policies and this screwed up hack job they call medical reform. Thanks to their policies, my medical insurance rates have gone up and I can barely afford the gas to do my work. They make me wanna puke.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    If they really cared about the middle class, they drop their idiotic energy policies and this screwed up hack job they call medical reform. Thanks to their policies, my medical insurance rates have gone up and I can barely afford the gas to do my work. They make me wanna puke.

  • Carl Vehse

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century: “They make me wanna puke.”

    I don’t think Obamacare covers that.

  • Carl Vehse

    Dr. Luther in the 21st Century: “They make me wanna puke.”

    I don’t think Obamacare covers that.

  • John C

    “If someone is so worried about the health of an individual, why not do something yourself …….”

    I suppose I could set up a clinic at home, contract a doctor and a nurse, buy a bedpan or two, raise money through chook raffles at the local pub.
    This is a great idea, MarkB, healthcare for the those who can’t afford it. I’m surprised Romney and Ryan haven’t thought of it.

  • John C

    “If someone is so worried about the health of an individual, why not do something yourself …….”

    I suppose I could set up a clinic at home, contract a doctor and a nurse, buy a bedpan or two, raise money through chook raffles at the local pub.
    This is a great idea, MarkB, healthcare for the those who can’t afford it. I’m surprised Romney and Ryan haven’t thought of it.

  • –helen

    Taking more money from millionaires is not. Why should anyone be taxed at a rate that is higher than everyone else?

    How about eliminating the capital gains tax rate?
    That might have them approach paying the same tax rate as everyone else.
    Then, we could plug a few loopholes. The mortgage interest deduction should apply to one owner occupied dwelling. Anyone who can afford half a dozen doesn’t need the deduction.

  • –helen

    Taking more money from millionaires is not. Why should anyone be taxed at a rate that is higher than everyone else?

    How about eliminating the capital gains tax rate?
    That might have them approach paying the same tax rate as everyone else.
    Then, we could plug a few loopholes. The mortgage interest deduction should apply to one owner occupied dwelling. Anyone who can afford half a dozen doesn’t need the deduction.

  • MarkB

    John C, it used to be that way with service organizations, churches and even ethnic groups providing the help needed. You can deride it all you want, but do you really have a better way to show your care for others? I thought not. What we are going through is the last stages before the collapse. If a small group of people cannot help those near and dear to them, how is this country going to afford to pay for everything for everybody? It cannot and will not no matter how much you tax the rich or the middle class or everyone.

  • MarkB

    John C, it used to be that way with service organizations, churches and even ethnic groups providing the help needed. You can deride it all you want, but do you really have a better way to show your care for others? I thought not. What we are going through is the last stages before the collapse. If a small group of people cannot help those near and dear to them, how is this country going to afford to pay for everything for everybody? It cannot and will not no matter how much you tax the rich or the middle class or everyone.

  • Tom Hering

    Yup, I guess that’s why it’s never been done in a lot of other countries. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Yup, I guess that’s why it’s never been done in a lot of other countries. ;-)

  • DonS

    “We Democrats offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out.”

    This is the whole problem. It’s not the job of government to “create an economy”. It’s the job of government to provide for domestic tranquility and for freedom of commerce, and to guarantee the rights and liberties granted by the Creator to each citizen of the United States, equally and without discrimination.

    What has made America great is that its free people have created and continue to create its vast and diverse economy. Government, get out of the way!

  • DonS

    “We Democrats offer America the opportunity to move our country forward by creating an economy built to last and built from the middle out.”

    This is the whole problem. It’s not the job of government to “create an economy”. It’s the job of government to provide for domestic tranquility and for freedom of commerce, and to guarantee the rights and liberties granted by the Creator to each citizen of the United States, equally and without discrimination.

    What has made America great is that its free people have created and continue to create its vast and diverse economy. Government, get out of the way!

  • Tom Hering

    What has made America great is that its free people have created and continue to create its vast and diverse economy.

    How’s that working out for us lately? ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    What has made America great is that its free people have created and continue to create its vast and diverse economy.

    How’s that working out for us lately? ;-)

  • DonS

    Fine, Tom, if Obama and his bureaucrats will just get out of the way. ;-)

  • DonS

    Fine, Tom, if Obama and his bureaucrats will just get out of the way. ;-)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Like when Obama and his bureaucrats were out of the way at the end of 2008?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Like when Obama and his bureaucrats were out of the way at the end of 2008?

  • DonS

    Nope, tODD. That was a different set of Bush bureaucrats screwing up the economy largely by implementing moronic government-guaranteed home loans for uncredit-worthy people, under policies from the 1990′s and early 2000′s, at prices in no way justified by a rational assessment of the market.

    Government cannot and should not be “creating” an economy. That is not at all the job of government, unless you live in China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, or some other place where government central planning is considered to be a good thing.

  • DonS

    Nope, tODD. That was a different set of Bush bureaucrats screwing up the economy largely by implementing moronic government-guaranteed home loans for uncredit-worthy people, under policies from the 1990′s and early 2000′s, at prices in no way justified by a rational assessment of the market.

    Government cannot and should not be “creating” an economy. That is not at all the job of government, unless you live in China, the Soviet Union, Cuba, or some other place where government central planning is considered to be a good thing.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ooh, let’s vote for Romney, then! He (and those on his ticket) have never supported government intervention in the economy! Surely they’ll “get out of the way” just like DonS wants! We couldn’t trust the last Republican administration, but maybe this next one just might work!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Ooh, let’s vote for Romney, then! He (and those on his ticket) have never supported government intervention in the economy! Surely they’ll “get out of the way” just like DonS wants! We couldn’t trust the last Republican administration, but maybe this next one just might work!

  • SKPeterson

    My wife would like to know the party position on Downton Abbey.

  • SKPeterson

    My wife would like to know the party position on Downton Abbey.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18: Dude, chill. All I said was that the Democratic platform is wrongheaded. I said nothing about Romney.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 18: Dude, chill. All I said was that the Democratic platform is wrongheaded. I said nothing about Romney.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Indeed, Don (@20), you couldn’t say anything about Romney if you want to vote for a candidate whose administration will “get out of the way”. It’s not an option among major party candidates. This year, or likely any other. But all you did was mention Obama. For some reason.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Indeed, Don (@20), you couldn’t say anything about Romney if you want to vote for a candidate whose administration will “get out of the way”. It’s not an option among major party candidates. This year, or likely any other. But all you did was mention Obama. For some reason.

  • Mary

    #19SkPeterson:

    Just like Moms, hot dogs and apple pie, both parties approve of Downton Abbey. Two thumbs up.

  • Mary

    #19SkPeterson:

    Just like Moms, hot dogs and apple pie, both parties approve of Downton Abbey. Two thumbs up.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 21: “For some reason”. Um, maybe because the thread is about the Democrats, and not about Romney? Or did that not occur to you?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 21: “For some reason”. Um, maybe because the thread is about the Democrats, and not about Romney? Or did that not occur to you?

  • Other Gary

    Michael B (@1) : I agree with your post, although not having read the platform in its entirety, I can nevertheless be pretty sure there’s other stuff in it to make me cringe.

    Mark B (@6) : “How do you justify the theft of a person’s possessions to be compassionate to another”—it’s not theft. Governments take money from private citizens all the time; it’s called taxation. No reasonable person equates taxation with theft. And compassion used to be regularly thought of as an American virtue. The wealthy rightfully pay more because they’ve already got _their_ American dream, and having benefited greatly from the opportunity afforded by this country, they have a moral obligation (even if they chaff at it) to keep the opportunities coming for others. So much of our system is gamed to help the winners win even bigger, while those who play by the rules but without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, are basically supposed to keep their heads down and be happy they’re not left to starve.

    “And add to this there is nothing in our constitution that allows for these types of ‘complete common sense.’ “—I agree nothing in our Constitution explicitly calls for it. So what? We, the People, are given the responsibility to govern ourselves, and we are trying to manage that task while recognizing this country isn’t run the way the framers had envisioned. Again, so what? The framers did a good job, but they were basically guessing at what would work. The whole “right to bear arms” provision was just in case they’d guessed wrong. Before the framers took a second cut at chartering this nation, the states had tried the Articles of Confederation and found that kind of minimal federalism wasn’t in the best interest of the states or the citizens. I was born in a country where the Federal government has a more active role in promoting “the general welfare” than what the Constitution explicitly calls for. Again, so what? From what I can see, with all its faults, it’s a better country than it would be if governed by strict, minimalistic Constitutionalism.

    Don S (@13): “It’s not the job of government to “create an economy”. Maybe, maybe not. Even if it were the government’s job, it seems obvious the government has a relatively dismal record under both parties to “create” an economy. At best it can help or hinder the economy, direct resources into things that may pay off later (as NASA fabulously has), and redistribute wealth so we don’t have tons of citizens literally destitute. Not the government’s job? It is if we give them that job. There are certain standards for the society we live in, standards we insist on, and sometimes government can play a positive role in helping its citizenry attain those standards. See my comment about constitutionality above.

  • Other Gary

    Michael B (@1) : I agree with your post, although not having read the platform in its entirety, I can nevertheless be pretty sure there’s other stuff in it to make me cringe.

    Mark B (@6) : “How do you justify the theft of a person’s possessions to be compassionate to another”—it’s not theft. Governments take money from private citizens all the time; it’s called taxation. No reasonable person equates taxation with theft. And compassion used to be regularly thought of as an American virtue. The wealthy rightfully pay more because they’ve already got _their_ American dream, and having benefited greatly from the opportunity afforded by this country, they have a moral obligation (even if they chaff at it) to keep the opportunities coming for others. So much of our system is gamed to help the winners win even bigger, while those who play by the rules but without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, are basically supposed to keep their heads down and be happy they’re not left to starve.

    “And add to this there is nothing in our constitution that allows for these types of ‘complete common sense.’ “—I agree nothing in our Constitution explicitly calls for it. So what? We, the People, are given the responsibility to govern ourselves, and we are trying to manage that task while recognizing this country isn’t run the way the framers had envisioned. Again, so what? The framers did a good job, but they were basically guessing at what would work. The whole “right to bear arms” provision was just in case they’d guessed wrong. Before the framers took a second cut at chartering this nation, the states had tried the Articles of Confederation and found that kind of minimal federalism wasn’t in the best interest of the states or the citizens. I was born in a country where the Federal government has a more active role in promoting “the general welfare” than what the Constitution explicitly calls for. Again, so what? From what I can see, with all its faults, it’s a better country than it would be if governed by strict, minimalistic Constitutionalism.

    Don S (@13): “It’s not the job of government to “create an economy”. Maybe, maybe not. Even if it were the government’s job, it seems obvious the government has a relatively dismal record under both parties to “create” an economy. At best it can help or hinder the economy, direct resources into things that may pay off later (as NASA fabulously has), and redistribute wealth so we don’t have tons of citizens literally destitute. Not the government’s job? It is if we give them that job. There are certain standards for the society we live in, standards we insist on, and sometimes government can play a positive role in helping its citizenry attain those standards. See my comment about constitutionality above.

  • DonS

    Other Gary @ 24: You have written a very thoughtful post.

    Responding to the portion you directed to me, you are correct that we have chosen to take on the benefits and burdens of a large and expensive federal government that is certainly not what the Founders envisioned, but is, for the most part, probably constitutional under historic court jurisprudence. Unfortunately, we have not similarly chosen to fully pay for the government we have selected. Instead, we are partaking in vast benefits for ourselves, at the expense of future generations. But, that is a topic for another thread.

    So, we agree that the federal government of today is a substantial participant in the economy. BUT, that is a far cry from being its creator. Let us continue to keep in mind that government produces nothing of value, save for a relatively few uniquely governmental services (eg patent system), that are voluntary and which generate fee income comprising a very tiny portion of the total federal budget. Whatever other resources the government consumes in the pursuit of its objectives come at the expense of the productive private sector of the economy (and borrowing from those put-upon future generations). The creators of the economy are private entities which fund the government, certainly not the government itself.

  • DonS

    Other Gary @ 24: You have written a very thoughtful post.

    Responding to the portion you directed to me, you are correct that we have chosen to take on the benefits and burdens of a large and expensive federal government that is certainly not what the Founders envisioned, but is, for the most part, probably constitutional under historic court jurisprudence. Unfortunately, we have not similarly chosen to fully pay for the government we have selected. Instead, we are partaking in vast benefits for ourselves, at the expense of future generations. But, that is a topic for another thread.

    So, we agree that the federal government of today is a substantial participant in the economy. BUT, that is a far cry from being its creator. Let us continue to keep in mind that government produces nothing of value, save for a relatively few uniquely governmental services (eg patent system), that are voluntary and which generate fee income comprising a very tiny portion of the total federal budget. Whatever other resources the government consumes in the pursuit of its objectives come at the expense of the productive private sector of the economy (and borrowing from those put-upon future generations). The creators of the economy are private entities which fund the government, certainly not the government itself.

  • Other Gary

    Don S, your comments are right on, and expressed with a courtesy not _always_ displayed on blog threads generally. (I.e., I’m sorta happy you didn’t just call me an idiot. )

    I agree, the private sector creates jobs, although the government–at every level–does also add a few public sector jobs. But as a country we absolutely have to figure out how to produce real value (the only thing that creates wealth) and govern/rig the “system” so that it’s not just shareholders who make out. Workers simply _have_ to have jobs that allow them to do more than survive, but also build for their futures and their children’s futures. But we haven’t had leadership, Democrat or Republican, government or corporate, with the ingenuity and balls to make this happen. Everyone just appears to be paying off the special interests or the corporate sectors who helped get them into office. This is disgraceful! I believe the economy can be restructured to not only make us _all_ more prosperous, but also to decrease the wealth gap between the richest citizens and the poorest. That ideal may seem like wishful thinking and a pipe dream, but I think it’s foolhardy and beneath our national character to not at least try.

  • Other Gary

    Don S, your comments are right on, and expressed with a courtesy not _always_ displayed on blog threads generally. (I.e., I’m sorta happy you didn’t just call me an idiot. )

    I agree, the private sector creates jobs, although the government–at every level–does also add a few public sector jobs. But as a country we absolutely have to figure out how to produce real value (the only thing that creates wealth) and govern/rig the “system” so that it’s not just shareholders who make out. Workers simply _have_ to have jobs that allow them to do more than survive, but also build for their futures and their children’s futures. But we haven’t had leadership, Democrat or Republican, government or corporate, with the ingenuity and balls to make this happen. Everyone just appears to be paying off the special interests or the corporate sectors who helped get them into office. This is disgraceful! I believe the economy can be restructured to not only make us _all_ more prosperous, but also to decrease the wealth gap between the richest citizens and the poorest. That ideal may seem like wishful thinking and a pipe dream, but I think it’s foolhardy and beneath our national character to not at least try.

  • DonS

    Thanks, Other Gary. I would be an idiot to call you an idiot, since you are clearly a thoughtful and intelligent man. I know the level of dialogue on website comment pages has sunk to a deplorable level, but thankfully most of the commenters on this site are civil and substantive, at least most of the time. And thank goodness we can discuss our politics, whatever our views, without adversity or fear of reprisals.

    I largely agree with your comment. Unfortunately, our government is in bed with big business, to the great detriment of the ordinary citizen. Though I count myself a staunch conservative, I am not pro-business, per se. I am pro-free enterprise (I think someone else who comments regularly here said this first — this statement is not original to me). I believe in the ideals of the Founders, in that they recognized the intrinsic worth and value of each citizen, and their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights being enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and guaranteed by our government as one of its fundamental roles.

    This philosophy abhors the current practice of government and big business to form a cabal for the purpose of regulating and taxing to the benefit of some, at the expense of others. I agree with you that our society will be stronger and better when there is less disparity between rich and poor, and where the working class is respected and rewarded for its huge contributions to the productivity and well being of us all.

    How to get there? I don’t believe government can properly structure society to bridge or reduce this gap. To the contrary, the more a government centrally plans, the worse the wealth gap seems to be. Government picking winners and losers is not the answer. What we need is a tax system that eliminates preferences for some at the expense of others (we should work toward eliminating tax deductions and credits should be eliminated, in favor of lower and broader tax rates that cannot be avoided or evaded). The benefits of simplifying and equalizing our tax system, ensuring that all people in similar income brackets pay the same in taxes, will be amazingly productive. College educations are overrated — we should greatly scale down our subsidies of higher education in favor of re-energizing and funding robust technical and trades education programs, to the benefit of the working class. Energy production needs to be streamlined and unleashed, with suitable environmental oversight, to ensure that it is readily available at lower costs that will, in particular, encourage manufacturing and other good middle class jobs. Government has greatly distorted our health care market, to its great detriment, by approaching the problem of cost containment in a completely backwards way. We need good and comprehensive catastrophic health coverage for all, so that no one goes bankrupt because they get sick. What we do not need is first dollar coverage that is very expensive to administer, especially for our hard-pressed medical providers, and results in health care rationing because of low provider reimbursements. Subsidies should be available for those who cannot afford to pay deductibles and co-payments, but the rest of us, with the assistance of expansive health spending accounts, should be able to manage our routine health care spending as we do our other routine costs of living.

    These are some ideas to get us going. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, we will not achieve perfect equality, but we can do far better by eliminating undue political and lobbying influences on the levers of power, which levers should be as small as possible.

  • DonS

    Thanks, Other Gary. I would be an idiot to call you an idiot, since you are clearly a thoughtful and intelligent man. I know the level of dialogue on website comment pages has sunk to a deplorable level, but thankfully most of the commenters on this site are civil and substantive, at least most of the time. And thank goodness we can discuss our politics, whatever our views, without adversity or fear of reprisals.

    I largely agree with your comment. Unfortunately, our government is in bed with big business, to the great detriment of the ordinary citizen. Though I count myself a staunch conservative, I am not pro-business, per se. I am pro-free enterprise (I think someone else who comments regularly here said this first — this statement is not original to me). I believe in the ideals of the Founders, in that they recognized the intrinsic worth and value of each citizen, and their God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, those rights being enumerated in the Bill of Rights, and guaranteed by our government as one of its fundamental roles.

    This philosophy abhors the current practice of government and big business to form a cabal for the purpose of regulating and taxing to the benefit of some, at the expense of others. I agree with you that our society will be stronger and better when there is less disparity between rich and poor, and where the working class is respected and rewarded for its huge contributions to the productivity and well being of us all.

    How to get there? I don’t believe government can properly structure society to bridge or reduce this gap. To the contrary, the more a government centrally plans, the worse the wealth gap seems to be. Government picking winners and losers is not the answer. What we need is a tax system that eliminates preferences for some at the expense of others (we should work toward eliminating tax deductions and credits should be eliminated, in favor of lower and broader tax rates that cannot be avoided or evaded). The benefits of simplifying and equalizing our tax system, ensuring that all people in similar income brackets pay the same in taxes, will be amazingly productive. College educations are overrated — we should greatly scale down our subsidies of higher education in favor of re-energizing and funding robust technical and trades education programs, to the benefit of the working class. Energy production needs to be streamlined and unleashed, with suitable environmental oversight, to ensure that it is readily available at lower costs that will, in particular, encourage manufacturing and other good middle class jobs. Government has greatly distorted our health care market, to its great detriment, by approaching the problem of cost containment in a completely backwards way. We need good and comprehensive catastrophic health coverage for all, so that no one goes bankrupt because they get sick. What we do not need is first dollar coverage that is very expensive to administer, especially for our hard-pressed medical providers, and results in health care rationing because of low provider reimbursements. Subsidies should be available for those who cannot afford to pay deductibles and co-payments, but the rest of us, with the assistance of expansive health spending accounts, should be able to manage our routine health care spending as we do our other routine costs of living.

    These are some ideas to get us going. Unfortunately, in this fallen world, we will not achieve perfect equality, but we can do far better by eliminating undue political and lobbying influences on the levers of power, which levers should be as small as possible.

  • BS in Texas

    DonS@27 -

    Well-said.

  • BS in Texas

    DonS@27 -

    Well-said.


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