Just about everyone knows the Trump game plan, which is supported by sycophant congressional Republicans:
- Denigrate and destroy America’s democratic institutions, most importantly the rule of law and the free press
- Divide and conquer Americans, by splitting left from right, black from white, recent immigrants from established immigrants, families from relatives abroad, and all religions
- Enrich and energize billionaire donors and generally the wealthy through the biggest transfer of wealth in decades under the guise of tax reform, facilitated by deception
- Blow up the budget deficit as the means to cut back on entitlements in the future, such as Medicare and Social Security
- And taint the ballot box by gerrymandering and the unrestricted flow of money from corporations and the ultra wealthy to game the system in their favor
Americans, disappointed by the ineptitude of the Democratic Party to deliver on economic opportunities and prosperity, took the Republican bait hook, line and sinker. Now what? Well, to reverse what the Republicans have done and what they plan to do before January 2021, the Democrats need to capture both houses of Congress and the presidency and not repeat past mistakes. This mission to save the soul of America will take time. It is a mission whose moral compass is justice, supported by democratic ideals and a market economy as envisioned by Adam Smith. This economic system is outlined in two books—The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Unfortunately, and it would appear by design, the Republicans have discarded the message of Smith’s second book, which was the one he preferred and which he considered to be the foundation of his envisioned system. Adam Smith, the great moral philosopher and acknowledged father of modern economics, argued that the market system would deliver untold benefits if market participants possessed sympathy for others and if the government adopted and enforced effective regulations. Importantly, he stated that people the world over had roughly the same inherent human faculties but unequal opportunities; and the best way to enhance economic performance is to afford everyone equal opportunity to develop, grow and flourish.
What does this require? It is not the proposed tax ‘reform” bill! The proposed bill is unfair, will not achieve what the Republicans say it will and will not create a landscape where all Americans have a reasonable and fair chance to flourish.
Over 70 percent of the benefits of the bill will accrue to corporations and to those who own their own business. The Republican Congress defends this transfer of income and wealth on the grounds that it will increase economic growth, wages and employment, with benefits trickling down, and will pay for itself. There is little need for sophisticated econometrics to conclude that the bill will have a minimal effect on growth, employment and wages. Common sense would tell you that most of the handout to corporations would go toward stock buybacks, higher dividends and fatter bonuses for captains of corporations, with the wealthiest Americans (and foreigners) owning the overwhelming share of corporations. Equally important is the unfairness of the bill in favoring owners of businesses over wage earners. Why should a family real estate firm or a car dealer pay a tax rate of 20 percent while a wage earner pays a tax rate of 37 percent? Again, the Republican lawmakers defend this glaring discrimination by telling us it will lead to higher employment and wages. Now ask yourself, will your local car dealer employ more people to sell cars and increase their wages by 30 to 50 percent or will he bank the money and live a more opulent life? And on top of this, the national debt will balloon further unless Medicare and Social Security are cut in the future.
But all is not lost because Democrats can reverse this travesty if they clearly convey their goal and the program to all Americans, if they resist becoming complacent and arrogant and if they don’t repeat their mistakes. The Democratic Party must begin as of “yesterday” to sow the seeds for taking back control of both the House and the Senate in 2018 and for winning the Presidency in 2020. If Democrats can resist temptations along the way conditions are ripe for them to retain all levels of power for decades to come.
What are the steps for Democrats to take back the levers of power from Republicans and restore fairness, justice and equal opportunity to the American experiment?
- Replace most of their leaders who represent past ineptitude
- Field credible and enthusiastic candidates in every congressional district in the United States (even in the reddest of states), candidates committed to the greater good and not to their own personal trajectory (there are thousands of such people, the party has to look for them and to vet them objectively)
- Develop a platform that is clearly explained to the American people well before the next set of elections and thereafter confirm the platform on a continual basis to build unwavering and growing support
- Include in the platform elements that incorporate tax reform with a commitment to fairness and justice, initiatives that provide fair access to quality education and skill training for all, infrastructure enhancement at the national level, healthcare that is available to all at an affordable cost, a program to control budget deficits and the national debt, and a strong stand against money in politics and gerrymandering
- Begin a fund raising campaign for the party that is tied to the platform
- Don’t repeat mistakes of the past: be tough in dealing with Republicans, don’t be complacent, keep eyes focused on the promises in the platform and deliver on each and everyone
It’s time to restore what made America great—a caring country with freedom, justice and a fair chance for everyone to reach their dreams.