The Test: Ask all Americans to examine their monthly spending budgets. Erase expenditures related to goods and services the Democrats want to give away. Recalculate. Decide for yourself whether the percentage of your budget that the government will indirectly or directly control is too high.
As the Republican Party exhausts itself screaming "socialism" at every Democratic proposal, the accomplish many objectives:
- They get on the news
- They fire up the 20% of the country that agrees with them
- They show that they are incapable of making a reasoned counterargument
- They prove to Americans that the GOP has no plan to make their lives better
Instead, Republicans should lay the plans of the Democrats bare --- in digestible language and logic. Republicans should ask Americans to pull out their monthly budget and calculate what percentage of their lives the Democrats want to directly or indirectly control.
Everyone's budget is different, but for an example, we can examine an "average American's" budget as calculated by the New York Times:
42% Housing: As discussed earlier, unless you were dumb enough to buy a house you could pay for, the government is likely to be picking up the tab for some of your housing. Also, by artificially lowering interest rates, homeowners are being subsidized to refinance at the expense of later generations who will be responsible for paying for the debt and dealing with the resulting inflation.
18% Transportation: The government now owns GM and Chrysler and will be dictating what cars they can sell. Furthermore, the EPA is now claiming authority to regulate CO2, which will affect other forms of transportation. Larger cars will be impossible to produce to meet due to the requirements of CAFE. Don't like the car you have now, the government will buy it (no, this is not a joke). In sum, the government will be producing certain cars while regulating other cars out of the market --- and is willing to buy your car, if you agree to buy one of theirs.
15% Food: In addition to the 2008 Farm Porkubus (er, "Farm Bill"), there are new calls for fat taxes or sugar taxes.
6% Education: First, this number is egregiously low --- because everyone pays for education through taxes and costs for today's students of higher education are likely borne with loans, which will make this cost increase over time. Not to be dissuaded, the President has plans for students to get aid by doing "service" work --- but has not defined what constitutes "service." Not like Democrats would systematically push resources to allies and pet projects. It would be like rewarding ivory tower academia with students who can pay higher prices because of a hidden federal subsidy .... Oh wait.
6% Health Care: New plan: regardless of how irresponsible, unable or unwilling to pay, you must be covered --- and your fellow citizens will pay for it.
13% Recreation, apparel and miscellaneous: We may not be there yet, but it's only the first half of the first term. Patience.
The above analysis can be critiqued because not all homeowners will have all of their expenses controlled by the government. However, the point is the same: once the camel has the nose in the tent, it can dictate your behavior. If you refuse, property can be taken, decisions dictated, lesser-preferred competitors subsidized or political opponents favored.
So, the assignment for today:
1.) Look at your bank statement
2.) Take out any expenditures associated with your home (mortgage, renovations, maintenance)
3.) Take out any educational expenses (tuition, student loan repayments, supplies)
4.) Take out transportation costs: gas, car payments, flights
5.) Take out health care costs (insurance ---don't forget, that may be on your pay stub --- prescriptions, co-pays, physical therapy, over the counter medications, other therapeutics).
6.) Determine what percentage of expenses your remaining expenditures constitute. This is the percentage of your money you can actually control without government interference.
Decide if that level of freedom is too high, too low or about right.
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