Memo to GOP: Become the high-growth party.
Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, December 7, 2012.
The dreary back and forth between Republicans and Democrats continues, even after the election. Between now and New Year’s, the argument will center around tax rates on the so-called “rich,” the raising thereof being a pre-condition for Democrats talking about reducing spending and avoiding the “fiscal cliff.”
Republicans are on the losing side of this proposition no matter what. The fact that they are substantively correct from a tax policy standpoint is carrying little weight with the public. The Democrats have convinced a narrow majority of Americans that absent a tax increase on the very loosely defined “rich,” nothing can be done about trillion dollar plus federal budget deficits and the piling on of even more federal debt.
Republican protests that raising tax rates on upper income earners hits the very people who hold the exclusive power to create private sector jobs, true though it is, is not resonating.
And thus the argument has devolved into the kind of bickering that parents must suffer between a nine year old sister and a seven year old brother in the back seat of the car on a long road trip. (We need higher taxes. Do not! Do too! Do not! Do too! MOM!!!)
Republicans are losing this argument. So it’s time to re-frame the debate and Republicans are best positioned to do it.
It is always a mistake to underestimate the problem-solving capacity of a robustly growing American economy. Yet Republicans argue with Democrats as if our current sluggish economy is the best we can do.
Fiscal rectitude, small government and low taxes should never be abandoned as core Republican principles. But such principles are best pursued as an integral part of an agenda that is led by an emphasis on growth. Thus Republicans should quit being the low taxes party (for debating purposes) and become instead the high growth party.
Republicans have a wealth of material with which to make the case.
Energy stands at the top of that stack. While most of us weren’t looking, the American oil and gas industry has been busy setting the predicate for returning the United States to the position of world leader in crude oil production.
Exploration and drilling technology advances have cleared the way for the U.S. to again become the world’s leading producer of oil by 2017 according to the International Energy Agency. Such a prospect dramatically shifts the balance of economic and strategic power in the world. Decades of Western democracies being forced to dance to a tune played by anti-Western, theocratic, tyrannical Middle Eastern mullahs will come to an end, together with the concomitant transfer of wealth.
Republicans should be talking about what will happen when the $200 billion or so (net) that the U.S. spends importing oil each year goes instead to paying American workers to produce and use energy found at home.
Apple and Google are American companies. One was started in a garage. The other was started in a college dorm. These companies are emblematic of what happens when ambition, intellect and passion are allowed to follow the animal instincts that thrive in a free, lightly regulated business climate.
Republicans should be talking about the yet unborn world business icon that will arise from the next young man or woman — sitting in a garage or a dorm room – possessed of a good idea and needing only a path reasonably free of obstacles to pursue it.
America feeds itself and much of the world without even trying very hard. The best and the brightest in the world attend American universities. The U.S. is still the world’s leading manufacturer (yes, it’s true). Most advances in technology, medicine, aerospace, manufacturing, logistics, transportation and defense are still hatched in America.
Against that largely unsung backdrop, the Democratic fixation on taking from one cohort of Americans to give to another looks like the small ball that it is.
Most people still have a deep desire for America to be great. Republicans should play to that desire by promoting the 21st century success that America, despite everything, stands ready to become.