Between the two parties I spend a significantly greater amount of energy being critical of the democrats compared to the republicans. The extra attention given to the democrats in critique should not be misconstrued as some common principled favor with the republicans, rest assured my disdain for both parties is equal. The reason I am more critical of the democrats is because their deception is much more difficult to detect than the deception of the republicans. They lie about their motivation, whereas republican lies are much more upfront, typically lying about what their policy accomplishes, but lying very little about who they represent.
The republicans overtly take advantage of American ignorance. One example is correlating lower taxes with increased economic activity, leading to more jobs and prosperity for the American people even though they know it to be false. They will lie about underclass inclusion in tax relief knowing it will effect the lives of underclass people minimally. Their chief motivation is to allow the upper classes to keep as much money as possible, but they rarely deny or even downplay their representation of success and their contempt for the poor. In contrast, the democrats pander to the struggle of the underclass knowing A: they don’t represent what they claim to represent. And B: they cannot deliver on the promises they issue for the few who are sincere.
In our modern government as I expressed in Party Platforms Tax Policy, there are three main distinctions of class interest. (there are likely more than three but off the top of my head) The first is tax policy. Although there is no correlation between an increased higher marginal tax rate, a substantial increase in revenue, and an increase in redistribution, this correlation is true in the reality of perception, meaning it is true to most people and represents an interest in government as if it were true. The first distinction is tax policy, where the upper and elite classes want to retain more of their money while the underclasses unaffected by a progressive tax policy want higher taxes on the wealthy falsely believing this will benefit them through a greater pool of tax revenue, and consequently more social programs to create relief and opportunity for the disadvantaged.
The second main distinction is social spending, food share, rent assistance, energy assistance, education, unemployment benefits, social security, health care, etc. The upper and wealthy classes have no need for social spending because they can afford all the services that most of the population cannot. Their only interest in budget appropriations for social spending is maintaining order. Maintaining order requires wealth to concede spending for social programs because without them civil unrest could threaten the existence of the system that allows them to direct power and maintain their advantages. Republicans are against social spending because the interests they represent do not benefit from social spending. Many democrats are rhetorically for social spending but their voting record is sometimes in sharp contrast to their rhetoric. Additionally, democrats create and peddle ideas for social spending to the general public and introduce bills for programs knowing the bills have no chance of becoming law. Many of these bills would fail even if the democrats had a monopoly in government.
On social spending most of the public benefits and even requires social spending because opportunities that exist to make a living are below what is required to procure normal necessities. The upper and wealthy classes have no need for social spending beyond what is required to prevent civil collapse. There are positive societal benefits of social spending. For example, spending on education has been shown to decrease crime rates (1) but this is still of little to no consequence to the upper classes and wealth because they are insulated from crime. Any benefits resulting from social spending in any area with the exception of mass civil unrest that threatens to replace the existing systems is of no consequence to the upper and wealthy classes.
Regulation of commerce is the third major point of class distinction. The underclasses prefer for industry to be regulated to the extent that consumers are protected from predatory practices, labor is protected, and their environment is protected from contamination that poses threats to their health. The upper and wealthy classes are interested in ensuring their return on investments are maximized in the businesses they own or share ownership in. Obviously wealth is against regulation of labor relations, preferring to exercise maximum discretion in matters concerning employees which includes but is not limited to minimum wage, working conditions, and benefits. Wealth is largely insulated or can insulate itself from both predatory business practices and environmental contamination.
In the main class distinct areas of representation the republicans are for lower taxes, minimum social spending, and deregulation. Many democrats do not deviate greatly from the positions of republicans concerning action in the representation of these interests, although nearly all of them represent the interest of the middle and lower classes in speech.
The economy is usually the greatest area of concern for the general population, but economic growth and unemployment have very little to do with government policy in a market based economy. The government does very little by way of creating jobs and direct investment. The largest US firms benefit from contracting with the government which has little to no effect on the economy overall. The government through subsides can create incentives for investment in certain sectors of the economy, but again, this has little to no bearing on overall economic performance. Because the government does not directly invest, owns no for profit businesses, government policy outside of regulation has very little impact on the economy. Of course the money the government spends on programs is beneficial in the goods and services purchased and indirectly through the distribution of benefits, the small variations in annual spending do not have much impact on the economy overall.
The economy is most impacted by government policy through redistribution taking place not only through benefits but also through regulation like minimum wage increases, or middle class tax relief. The reason is increased wages among the bottom position people who are going to spend money to have more money to spend, the same as those who receive benefits or increased benefits inject more money into the economy. Middle class tax relief produces the same effect. The more money spent by consumers not only leads to a greater amount of profit for reinvestment, but also the greater demand there is for products and services which means there are more opportunities for investment.
The republican position as I mentioned in Party Platforms Tax Policy is the lower the marginal and corporate tax rate the more money the investor class has for investment and the more incentivized the investor class is to invest. In PPTP I reference the work of Emmanual Saez who found no correlation between economic growth and the top marginal tax rate. The reason lower taxes and the greater retention of profit does not incentivize or produce increased investment and economic growth is the market still requires demand to create investment opportunity. Redistribution is required to stimulate economic growth in nations where great economic inequality exist in order to produce demand in the market. Investment and growth is limited by the means of the consumer to create demand for products and services.
Foreign policy should be an area holding a distinction of class interest but it is not. For the same reason the societal benefits of social spending do not serve the interests of wealth: because they are insulated from the harmful effects. Again, beyond rhetoric, there is no difference between the foreign policy of democrats and republicans. American foreign policy is motivated by ensuring US corporations have access to the markets of foreign nations for the exploitation of labor and resources at an advantage. Every other policy decision that does achieve those ends directly is an indirect step towards achieving those ends.
The only exception to the market access motivation is conflict profiteering, where states are supported or protected in aggression that has little to no bearing on US market access abroad. These positions encourage the sale of arms and benefit US weapons manufactures. The most recent example is the ongoing aggression by Saudi Arabia against Yemen. A historical example would be US support for Indonesia against East Timor in the mid 70s but these are by no means isolated incidents.
US corporations and their share holders who direct this policy of market access are motivated by the obvious benefit of increased profits gained through low cost raw materials and labor. The general population in the United States benefits from low cost goods and services. They are insulated in the sense that the nations imposed on in their name and in their interest are unable due to distance and security to harm the US population.
The United States has seen a rise in indiscriminate mass killings. The republican solution to the problem is for more people to be armed in locations where mass killings occur most frequently. The democrats believe stricter gun laws will prevent people from obtaining guns to use in mass killings. The logic of republicans is greatly superior to the logic of the democrats, although neither addresses the root of the problem.
Neither the democrats nor the republicans can honestly speak to the root of the problem which is wide spread dissatisfaction and alienation usually rooted economic circumstances that have social consequences. The American Myth that everything is copacetic must be maintained. The perpetrators of mass shootings become the focus, they are mentally ill, innately evil, there is something wrong with them that is separate from the environment that molded them. In this, democrats propose gun control measures to prevent these anomalous individuals from procuring guns to use against the population. Again, the republicans proposal is for people to be armed to defend themselves against these individuals.
The proposal of the democrats is like banning utensils to cure obesity. If people want to kill people they are going to find a way to do it. Citizens of the United States compared to Russia have much greater access to guns. Yet Russia’s homicide rate per million people is twice that of the US homicide rate per million people.(2) Stricter gun laws will not stop someone who wants to kill people from killing people, and usually will not prevent someone who wants a gun from getting a gun.
I come from a place where people have guns and they didn’t buy them from the store. You can obtain guns as a felon not through gun shows as the media suggests, but through burglaries of people who you know have guns. Or you have someone who can legally possess guns purchase the guns and buy them at a marked up rate, and then report them stolen. Sometimes people who can legally possess guns will purchase stolen guns if they intend on using them because if you become the subject of investigation related to a shooting, guilt is implied if you have a gun registered to you that is the same caliber as the gun used in the crime.
The point of gun laws not significantly increasing the difficulty for a person who cannot legally possess a gun legally to procure a gun is secondary. The main point is with or without a gun a person who wants to kill a large number of people is going to kill a large number of people. This past year Alek Minassian didn’t need a gun to kill 10 people and injure 15 more in his attack in Toronto, where he used a van to mow down pedestrians. (3)
The republican idea to deter or at least mitigate the effect of mass shootings is not a bad idea. At least it is rooted in sound logic where an armed people is better prepared to defend itself against an armed perpetrator, whereas the democrats pretend they live in a world where only people who are supposed to have guns will have guns, and the only way to kill a person is with a gun.
Personally, I am for one of two worlds. The first is a world with no guns. This world does not exist and there is no reason this world will exist anytime in the near future. The second is a world where everyone possesses a gun. I prefer for people to be on equal footing and because guns exist, no person should ever have to relinquish complete control of their will due to the depth of the disadvantage created by being unarmed in the presence of an armed aggressor.
The differences between most democrats and most republicans in executed policy is minimal even if the theater is created intent on the portrayal of great differences. Norman Finkelstein who is best known for his oceanic depth of knowledge on Israel/Palestine, defined what it means to be radical by creating a spectrum using the labels of conservative, liberal, radical, and their relationship to change. The conservative position is that little or no change is required for society to achieve progress towards ideal, or the trajectory is already ideal. The liberal believes a moderate amount of change is required, and the radical recognizes the need for a great deal of change.
The democrats are liberal almost exclusively in word. They engage in legislative game playing where the progressive bills they vote for are symbolic in nature, passed in one chamber knowing they are dead in the next. Today the NPR headline read “House Passes Extensive Election and Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill”. (4) On the campaign finance side the bill creates incentives for candidates to receive government supplementation if they receive small donations in their campaign, and apparently it requires 501 c4s to disclose donors. The bill is passed with knowledge that the Senate is not going to vote on it. Meaning democrats can vote for something to make a statement to voters without having to deal with the ramifications of that thing becoming law which is likely against the interest of their donors.
The republican controlled senate did the same thing in December, where they voted to end aid and support to Saudi Arabia in their destruction of Yemen, largely as a rebuke for the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, not for the slaughter, sickness, and starvation they have inflicted on the people of Yemen. They passed the bill knowing it would be blocked from being voted on in the house. (5) Senators have an opportunity to make a political statement through headlines while avoiding any repercussion associated with the action.
The reality is neither party wants things to change very much. The systems works very well for wealth and the corporations wealth owns collectively. These are the directors of policy and selectors of candidates. The directors and the selectors have a system that works well for them which means the candidates, both democrats and the republicans are conservative in action even if some be liberal or radical in speech.
1: Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania’s Best Investment: The Social and Economic Benefits of Public Education, Dana Mitra, Ph.D pp 15-16. “The strong relationship between higher levels of education and lower levels of crime make public expenditures for quality schools a sound investment. By one estimate, “the social benefits of a 1 percent 16 increase in male U.S. high school graduation rates (from reduced crime alone) would have amounted to $1.4 billion.” Citations Source: Lochner, L. and E. Moretti, The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports. 2004, American Economic Review. 94(1): p. 155-189.
2: Nation Master. United States murder rate per million people 42.01, Russian murder rate per million people 102.35. https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Russia/United-States/Crime
3: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation “What We Know About Alec Minassin, Man Charged in Deadly Toronto Van Attack”. 4/23/2018. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/toronto-van-attack-driver-profile-alek-minassian-1.4632435
4: NPR “House Passes Extensive Election and Campaign Finance Overhaul Bill”, by Miles Parks, 3/8/2019. ““We know this bill is not going to be signed into law” said Illinois Rep Rodney Davis.” https://www.npr.org/2019/03/08/701455283/house-passes-extensive-election-and-campaign-finance-overhaul-bill
5: Reuters “US Senate Hands Trump Historic Rebuke on Saudi Arabia”, by Patricia Zengerle, 12/18/2018 “The votes were largely symbolic because to become law the resolutions would have to pass the House of Representatives, whose Republican leaders have blocked any legislation intended to rebuke the Saudis.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-saudi-yemen/u-s-senate-hands-trump-historic-rebuke-on-saudi-arabia-idUSKBN1OC2S3