Why Do The Poor And Working Class Vote Republican?

Never for the life of me do I understand why the poor and working class vote Republican.  In my nearly fifty years of following politics, the generalization I come to accept is that the Republican Party is the political party of both the rich and Big Business and the Democratic Party is the party of the working class and the poor.  When Republicans talk of cutting taxes, which always seems to be their number one priority and the solution to every problem, they like to imply that all Americans will benefit.  While technically it may be true that everyone might gain from a tax cut, in fact what usually happens is that the working class might receive a two hundred dollar tax cut while millionaires receive two hundred thousand dollars, if not more.  Republicans always seem to preach over and over again how tax cuts are needed to stimulate the economy, because they claim that it is rich folk who are the job creators, however this assumption is not based on facts.

History shows that tax cuts mainly benefiting the wealthy elite do not produce the trickle down effect that Republicans claim.  President George W. Bush’s two massive tax cuts, primarily benefiting the upper one percent of the nation did very little, if anything to stimulate the economy as he left office with the country facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Bill Clinton raised taxes early in his presidency and all the while the economy roared.  And remember, prior to President Obama assuming office, seventy-five percent of the national debt occurred during just two administrations: Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, whose ideology of supply side economics just didn’t add up.  It is consumers who are the real job creators.  It is the demand of goods and services that create jobs.  No manufacturer will make its products until there is demand for it.

Republicans talk of easing restrictions on the business community to spur the economy; however, these restrictions and laws were put in place for a reason.  Environmental protection laws were established because businesses were dumping their hazardous waste into our air, land and water.  It wasn’t all that long ago that air was unfit to breathe in major U.S. cities, the Bald Eagle nearly extinct and the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland.  Workplace safety laws were enacted because working conditions in factories were horrendous. Financial accounting and compliance laws were created because the business and banking institutions were and are unable to police themselves.  When left unchecked during the George W. Bush administration, the titans of banking created the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and then went crying to our federal government for help.  After receiving a bailout, these same men that created this ongoing crisis then gave themselves record bonuses.

The depression we have been in for several years, and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman has labeled this economic downturn a depression, has been made worse and prolongated by Republican policy, or lack there of.  When the private sector is not hiring, it is up to our federal government to do so.  Yet, just the opposite is true.  The size of our federal government has been reduced during the past four years contrary to the Republican Party’s claim that President Obama has greatly increased its size.  Mr. Obama inherited a financial disaster when he assumed office.  Two massive tax cuts, plus two unfunded and unnecessary wars, the near collapse of the automotive industry along with the collapse of the housing bubble created a financial situation that many an economist predicted could possibly be as severe as that of the Great Depression.  At no other time in our history has a president cut taxes during wartime, let alone during two wars, yet that was precisely what President George W. Bush did.  Taxes as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) are the lowest in sixty years.

If you believe this country is in dire financial condition and decide to cast your vote for Mitt Romney, I pity our children and grandchildren for they will pay the ultimate price for his policies.  Under a Romney administration, expect another round or two of massive tax cuts, again benefiting the ultra rich and Big Business.  The non-partisan Tax Policy Center has stated that Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s budget plan’s tax cuts will cost the nation $4.3 trillion over the next decade.  The Center On Budget And Policy Priorities, another non-partisan research and policy institute has stated that under Ryan’s proposed budget, employees earning more than one million dollars would get an annual $265,000 tax savings on top of the $129,000 they would also receive from an extension of George W. Bush’s tax cuts all the while many low-income workers would see an increase in their taxes.  The Center On Budget And Policy Priorities has also stated that the Ryan budget “would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times” and quit possibly in all of U.S. history.

Mr. Romney has already stated that the first thing he would do as president would be to repeal the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (i.e., ObamaCare).  Isn’t it ironic that Romney decries this plan as an anti-business, job-killing bill but fails to see the paradox that it is based on his very own RomneyCare plan he instituted as governor of Massachusetts, one the citizens of that state very much approve?  With fifty million Americans living without any form of health care, we should embrace President Obama’s plan, yet Republicans have done a great job of convincing Americans that this plan is the downfall of our nation.  As a country, we spend twice as much on health care as that of most industrialize countries, yet we receive half the benefits.  Our health care system is ranked thirty-seventh by the World Health Organization in regard to benefits received.  Something is vastly wrong with our system.  The Democratic Party should be given credit for attempting to fix it, yet just the opposite is happening.

The stated position of the Republican Party is to cut government, including teachers, police and firefighters to the bare bones and to outlaw unions.  While cutting the size of the federal government sounds like a good way to reduce the budget deficit and national debt, during a depression or recession is not the time to do so.  Big Government is also necessary to offset the evils of Big Business.  Without Big Government, Big Business would run rampant, free to do whatever they choose at the expense of our workplace, environment and overall well-being.  Government is also necessary to provide essential services such as education, infrastructure, defense, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, disaster relief.  Mr. Ryan’s proposed budget would cut FEMA by more than forty percent, while Romney stated during a Republican primary debate that he believes individual states or the private sector are best suited for handling disasters.  How long would it be before states such as Louisiana or Florida went bankrupt after a hurricane or two wrecked their entire economy and fiscal budget?  And it’s not only hurricanes that would cause havoc to a state’s budget, but tornadoes throughout the midwest and wildfires out west.  Moreover, what private sector business is going to pay the estimated $20 billion to clean up and rebuild the east coast after this week’s natural disaster?

On the very night that President and Mrs. Obama were celebrating his inauguration, more than fifteen top Republican congressional leaders and strategists met during a private dinner in Washington, D.C. to plot ways to defeat both the newly elected president’s policies and his re-election bid.  Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said three years ago that his number one priority was to see that President Obama does not get re-elected.  Really?  His number one objective should be looking out for the best interests of America and its citizens.  Is there really any wonder why the economy is still faltering?  Republicans have done absolutely nothing to help the president implement a sound recovery policy to turn around our ailing economy.  There are more Americans living in poverty today than any time in our history, all the while Mitt Romney wants to implement the very same failed economic policies as set forth by George W. Bush that got us into this financial mess in the first place.  With Republican leaders like Senator McConnell and Paul Ryan leading the verbal budget assault, is there really any wonder why our economy is still in the shape it’s in?  During his debate with Vice-President Joe Biden, Congressman Ryan stated that he and Romney are proposing a twenty percent across the board tax cut, but then added that it will “Start with the wealthy.”  Is that a surprise?

Mitt Romney and Republicans like to complain about welfare recipients, yet they have no trouble receiving government subsidies themselves. Republicans complain about welfare recipients receiving maybe a thousand dollars a month all the while living in poverty, yet they see nothing wrong in receiving a hundred thousand dollar mortgage tax credit for their million-dollar mansion or granting record profit earning corporations hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and tax benefits.  Corporate welfare accounts for $150 billion in lost governmental revenue, more than the total paid out in welfare benefits to individuals, not including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Where is the outcry of this injustice?  Is there any wonder why corporations give hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions?

It is bad enough that Mr. Romney, after he files an amended return on his 2011 taxes (if he hadn’t already done so) claiming the entire $4 million charitable deduction and not just the $2.25 million he filed as to keep his effective tax rate at a paltry fourteen percent, will pay an effective tax rate of nine percent, far lower than most working Americans, and receiving government subsidy on one of his mansions, but in tax year 2010 received a $77,000 tax deduction for his $500,000 horse that completed in the London Olympics in the uber-rich equestrian sport of dressage, more commonly known as horse dancing.  To further compound the income tax disparity between the rich and working class, Paul Ryan has proposed reducing the capital gains tax rate to zero, resulting in Mitt Romney and his fellow Wall Streeters paying absolutely no federal nor payroll taxes all the while earning tens of millions of dollars.

Remember, in one of Mitt Romney’s rare moments of truth, he opined during a campaign event that “There are forty-seven percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are forty-seven percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. …  These are people who pay no income tax. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”  When this secretly taped speech hit the airwaves, Mr. Romney quickly tried to take back his remarks by unconvincingly telling voters it is he who is the candidate of compassion.  Under a Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan administration, shared sacrifice would consist of massive budget cuts in programs benefiting the poor and working class and enormous tax cuts for this nation’s wealthy elite.

The reason why Republicans candidates win state and federal elections is that Republican voters turn out in mass while Democrats do not.  In addition, many citizens who would vote Democrat do not even bother to register to vote.  This election is about more than who will be the next president of the United States.  With four jurors in their 70s, the next president will most likely appoint several Supreme Court justices, which will shape domestic policy for decades to come.

President Obama described it so eloquently this past August during a campaign appearance as to what to expect for Americans if Mr. Romney happens to win the election next week: Republicans will be taking from the working class and the poor and giving to the rich, resulting in a presidential Romney Hood.  Why do the poor and working class vote Republican?  You got me!

Steven H. Spring






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