Saturday, April 25, 2015

Policy Perspective: The Democrats' Achilles' Heel? We Wanna Tax, We Wanna Spend.

Policy differences: Democrats would raise taxes to spend on helping the poor.

I remember a strange argument that I had with my conservative brother -- both my brothers are Rush Limbaugh Republicans, ain't that weird? -- in which he claimed that, as a Democrat, all I wanted to do was tax and spend. I said it wasn't a given. I wasn't against taxing and not spending.

We went on to something else, and then five minutes later, my brother blurted out, "That's ridiculous! You do want to tax AND spend!" He said this in utter disgust.

That was an argument ender if I ever encountered one. But my brother is right on one account: Although we Dems could tax and reduce the deficit if it were possible and/or necessary to do so, our inclination is to indeed spend. Taxing the wealthy who can afford it and transferring those dollars to the needy is our idea of the right thing to do.

Spending it on infrastructure, education, job training, and research is also appealing. It's what we do, there's no denying it.

If I have a point in bringing this up, it's that we not only shouldn't deny it, we should own it, and so should every smart Democrat running for office. Don't pussyfoot around. We want to spend money to help our country, and we're especially happy when we can get the rich to give us that money.

After all, the rich got rich from the infrastructure, education, job training, and research that created the foundation of their success. There are rare exceptions, but by and large, the rich need the rest of us to make them rich.

I'm happy to be a tax-and-spender. Proud to be one. It's no problem. It's only an Achilles' Heel if we try to run from it.

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