The House and Senate have now each passed their own similar tax bills and a conference will come up with a single unified plan. Each of the individual bills has been scored to add $1 trillion to the national debt over a ten year period and so the final plan will almost surely have this same feature.
With our public (on which interest is paid) debt now 77% of GDP, the highest since right after WWII, and already growing rapidly, this is an extremely unattractive, and even dangerous, feature of the tax plan.
One of our most cherished principles in the U.S. is “liberty and justice for all.” But consider the normally perceived philosophical differences between the two political parties:
The Republicans are the party of liberty concentrating on providing maximum opportunity for people to succeed in life by realizing their full potential. This means fostering strong economic growth in order to have lots of opportunities for self-betterment. It also means keeping government at all levels as lean and efficient as possible, so as to minimize interference with private initiative. Excessive public debt is a particular anathema by creating a huge public burden, especially on future generations.
The Democrats are the party of justice concentrating on helping to provide the less fortunate members of society with the necessities of life by means of public support programs. This also means working to oppose all forms of prejudicial behavior based on race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. In addition it means trying to alleviate the inevitable income inequalities which arise in a free and dynamic society like ours, primarily with redistribution of tax revenues.
Conclusion. Both parties have fundamentally important principles. They gain and keep adherents by fighting for what they believe in. If the national Republican Party becomes lackadaisical about our huge national debt, as it appears to be right now, it risks losing its reputation for fiscal responsibility. This will do it great damage.
Americans have the chance to “begin the world all over again” Thomas Paine, 1737 – 1809, Common Sense
As I reported in my last blog, I have been reading the relatively new book, “Still the Best Hope: why the world needs American Values to triumph” by Dennis Prager. His thesis is that there are three competing ideologies for the allegiance of humankind: Islamist, Leftist and American and, furthermore, that these three ideologies are incompatible. Any one of them succeeds at the expense of the other two. He identifies the American Trinity of Values as Liberty, In God We Trust, and E Pluribus Unum.
These three expressions appear on all American coins.
Liberty is the essence of the American idea
Liberty necessitates small government
The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen
i) Moral character begins with taking responsibility for oneself
ii) Reliance on the state creates a sense of entitlement
iii) The smaller the government, the more the individual is needed
In God We Trust
We are “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights …”
Judeo-Christian Values, not Judeo-Christian Theology
i) People are not basically good
ii) God-based morality
iii) Holiness – we are not like other animals
iv) Hate evil
v) Material well-being is one of many values
E Pluribus Unum – From Many One
Nationalism – the opposite of multiculturalism
American Exceptionalism – the U.S. is qualitatively different from other nations
America is Good – not perfect but good in comparison with other nations
The above values are selected and abbreviated from Mr. Prager’s complete list, to most accurately reflect my own views. I strongly identify with these values which characterize America and its unique role in the world. We are the strongest, freest and wealthiest nation the world has ever known. For everyone’s sake let’s keep it that way!
I am currently registered as an independent. Ideologically I am a fiscal conservative and a social moderate. For most of my life I have been a registered Republican and have almost always voted Republican in national elections. But most of my friends are Democrats and I often agree with them on specific issues. So why do I identify more closely with the Republican point of view overall? I may have finally figured it out! I have just come across and read the provocative book, “Still the Best Hope. Why the world needs American values to triumph” by the public intellectual, Dennis Prager. Here is his message:
There are three ideologies competing for the allegiance of humankind. They are Islamist, Leftist and American. “Islamist” refers not to Muslims in general but those within the Muslim world who want to see the world governed by Sharia, or Islamic law. “Left” refers to the values associated with the western welfare state, secularism, and to contemporary socialist democratic parties. Americanism refers to the American Trinity of values: ‘Liberty,’ ‘In God We Trust,’ and ‘E Pluribus Unum’ which appear on all American coins.
The three ideologies are incompatible. Any one of them succeeds at the expense of the other two. All Islamists know this, many Leftists know this, but most Americanists do not know this.
Of the three, only Americanists do not proselytize.
One of the three is being promoted violently.
Leftism is a religion.
Americanism is the major impediment to Leftist success.
The impediments to the spreading of American ideals. Islamism and Leftism each dominate many countries. Americanism only dominates one country: America. Neither religious values, individual liberty nor market values are secure in America. Few are teaching the next generation of Americans what constitutes the American value system. The most important battle for American values is the ideological one within America.
Is there a fourth – Chinese – alternative? Either China will become a freer society or it will fail. It will have to affirm values beyond material success in order to succeed, as America has.
Such a stark framework as this hasn’t occurred to me before. But it makes sense and I totally identify with Americanism as opposed to Islamism or Leftism. This is not going to change the way I do things but it helps me understand why I am the way I am!