*Over the next few weeks I will examine the Republican Party’s national platform. That is, the official statement of purpose and vision for the party and presumably the policies that Romney would work to implement should he get elected President. Today I will go over the economic principles.
There are four predominant concepts make up the economic portion of the Republican platform: getting Americans back to work, supporting and strengthening small businesses, and helping to support a 21st Century workforce. In addition there is the catch-all concept of balancing the budget through decreasing spending which will lead to a decreased need for taxation and in fact lower taxes.
Getting Americans back to work and strengthening small businesses are noble thoughts. However the path by which Republicans would like to achieve these goals are illogical. Republicans would like less regulations on corporations with the thought that corporations would grow and thereby offer jobs. As I’ve written before (http://www.eurweb.com/2010/11/the-socialist%E2%80%99s-journal-the-supply-side-contradiction/) it is hardly reasonable to expect good businesses to do anything but act in the interest of their own business. This is critical because hiring people does not minimize costs, and minimizing costs is the path to profit. I have no doubt that a company without restraints will expand and hire more people, but that will be a controlled and limited expansion of the workforce.
Furthermore deregulation would be the worst thing for small businesses. When the rules of fair play are eliminated, most small businesses will be swallowed up and/or driven out of business by more aggressive competitors. This is the nature of unrestrained capitalism. This is the nature of the truly free market that Republicans are so fond of promoting. Sure some companies will be hugely successful as they drive their competitors bankrupt; and the people in those companies will be very prosperous. But the people in the companies that are going bankrupt will be unemployed and fighting for the fewer jobs as the successful company expands.
To some degree, if you believe in competition then there is nothing wrong with this picture. But our government should be about ensuring that as many people as possible are working. Government should be in the business of leveling the playing field so that all companies have a chance. When the rules are gone, stronger companies will engage in underhanded tactics to slant things in their favor.
All of this commentary would be for naught if our workforce could transition from industries being taken over by a few corporations to new industries. And another plank in the Republican platform would help the American people move in that direction – supporting a 21st century workforce. Essentially this is the Republican party stating that it we need workers that are able to adapt and excel in different jobs and working environments. Another legitimate goals. But what process does the Republican party map out for getting our labor force to such a skill level? None. In fact the Republican platform attacks the current administration for wasteful policies aimed at building a 21st century workforce. Republicans would like to cut spending for job training programs and education, even though these are the very things that would help achieve their stated goal of building a 21st century workforce.
Of course this leads into a main component of the Republican philosophy: cutting taxes. According to Republicans, taxes are cut because government spending is decreased because government will not be as involved in American society. There is something to be said for this version of American as there was less government intervention in everyday life when the country was founded. Nevertheless another of my articles (http://www.eurweb.com/2012/03/the-socialists-journal-every-changing-america/) addresses exactly why we cannot operate our country in 2012 as if it were 1790. Furthermore the limited government and limited tax burden that were emblematic of early America are no longer the reality of our country because laws passed by Congress and determined to be Constitutional by the Supreme Court. The expansion of our government’s role in our lives was sanctioned by our lawmakers and it is necessary for our country to operate optimally in the 21st century.
Taken together these planks of the Republican platform would have our country without many rules to govern how businesses should operate, less taxes to support a bureaucracy to enforce the laws, and as a result more people being elbowed out of work by bigger, stronger, companies, and less of an opportunity for the average American to rise above this situation because of increased costs for higher education.
If this is a rosy picture in your mind it is certainly your prerogative to vote for Romney. If this isn’t what you’d like the United States to become, you’ll vote for Obama.
Trevor Brookins is a free lance writer in Rockland County, New York. He is currently working on a book about American culture during the Cold War. His writing has appeared in The Journal News. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @historictrev.