Thank you Newsweek magazine,
for saying what we could not
By Marty Connors
ex-Alabama GOP chairman
FACT 1: According to the cover story in this week's edition of Newsweek Magazine (hardly a conservative publication) "We Are All Socialists Now" (p.23):
- "In 2010, U.S. spending is expected to be 39.9 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, compared with 47.1 in the Euro Zone -- a gap of less than eight points. As entitlement spending rises over the next decade, we will become even more French."
The article went on to report, "A decade ago U.S. Government spending was 34.2 percent of GDP, compared with 48.2 percent in the Euro Zone -- a roughly 14 percent gap."
ASSESSMENT: While Republicans can point to the War on Terror, the economic impacts of 9/11 and two devastating hurricanes as some justification in the increase of spending, we must also take an honest look in the mirror at prescription drug benefits and current bailouts as well.
The first leg of this current marathon run in spending certainly was initiated on our watch. And with the permissive green light Washington Republicans signaled, Obama and the Democratic leadership has seized the political cover to do what so many of us suspected they would; trust their core values, run with their political instincts and pass the largest spending bill in the history of the world.
I don't remember who said this, but it might be the best quote I have heard thus far in Republican personal assessment:
- "Republicans came into power as social conservatives and left power as conservative socialists." Newsweek provides proof that both political parties contributed in getting us to this point, the question now will be, "Who has learned their lesson and who actually believes in European Socialism? Is that really what we want?"
Are Republicans really opposed to socialism, or are we just driving the country in that direction at a slower pace?
FACT 2: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people working in government jobs (including military, but not including post offices, don't ask me why they account things that way) now represent eight percent of all jobs in America. Jobs in the public/government sector actually surpassed jobs in manufacturing back in the early 90's. The only growth in unionization today is in the public /government sector. That is why Democrats in D.C. are now pushing "Card Check" to eliminate the current requirement of a secret ballot in the election of unions.
I was not able to determine just how many of those government jobs were in management or at pay grades above GS11, but surely management (those with some decision making authority) level jobs would be just a fraction of the entire government workforce.
ASSESSMENT: So if Newsweek is right and 40 percent of everything we spend in the United States today is from government, are we now recognizing that the protected merit system managers of that 40 percent are now America's new elite?
I thought the "elites" were those horrible "rich" people who make over $250,000 that Obama so likes to vilify?
Be you an advocate of capitalism or socialism, understand there will always be the elite class. The question is, "How does one become elite? Does he become elite through entrepreneurship, personal risk taking, and job creation or does he become elite by working his way through a regulatory system, funded by other's taxes and backed by other, often hostile government's, for the opportunity to redistribute the largess of others?"
One thing I now know is that regardless of how much $250,000 can buy, if you make that much, you are now rich. Obama has told us so.
Ignoring the fact that $250,000 in Opp, Alabama buys more than its equivalent does in Birmingham or New York, Obama finally defined the word "rich." Thankfully CNBC points out just how foolish that thinking is.
Using a cost of living calculator from Bankrate.com, CNBC compared what $250,000 translates to in various parts of the country. Here's is a sample of what they found:
In contrast, a person making $250,000 in New York would need only $106,000 to live in Paducah, Kentucky.
Does this mean that if Obama's tax plan is passed, we'll have even more snowbirds in Gulf Shores?
FACT 3: According to MSNBC (hardly a conservative cable channel) three percent of Americans make incomes over $200,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, singles and couples filing joint returns above $250,000 represent 3.1 percent of our population. Those same 3.1 percent also pay 47.9 percent of all federal taxes.
ASSESSMENT: So after you hug a soldier returning from Iraq, go hug a small business owner and tell him or her, "I don't think you are part of the problem."
Instead we should:
- Cut the top personal rate from 35% to 25%;
- Cut the corporate income tax rate form 35% to 25%;
- Cut payroll and self employment tax in half from 15.3 to 7.5;
- Eliminate the tax on death and freeze federal spending. Do basically some of the things Ronald Reagan and John Kennedy had the sense to do.
FINAL THOUGHT: So as we are now in the midst of the most critical debate in our nation's history, fear not. Don't let the Left and media talking heads besmirch conservatives and "awakened" Republicans by saying we are now "going Retro", back in time to the Reagan days.
I think it is equally important to point out that Democrats, many of whom are no longer fearful of either the "L" word "Liberal" or the "S" word, "Socialism" are also going "Retro." In their case, they are going back to LBJ's "Great Society" or FDR and his "New Deal" Days.
But I do want to thank Newsweek Magazine for allowing all of us to finally call it what it is ..."socialism." To have used the "S" word before would have been labeled as alarmist, reactionary, even goofy. After all, that could never happen in America, right?
I thought we'd already been through this political argument. Wasn't this addressed just a few years ago shortly after President Reagan said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall?"
(Marty Connors is a former chairman of the Alabama Republican Party and the 2004 Recipient of the American Conservative Union, CPAC, Ronald Reagan Award.)