Republicans love slogans — they’re short and they, therefore, cannot be substantive.
John McCain has resurrected the “liberal” and “tax and spend” slogans in this campaign. We cannot take this lightly. These are ingrained in the consciousness of middle Americans — and much of it is our own fault (see my blog entitled “Elephantizing” — http://www.democrats.org/page/community/post/lauraschneider/C5mb).
So, how do we Democrats frame the truth in slogan form — something, as Jack Sparrow would say, “It’s short, it’s easy to remember….”
What is the truth?
Democrats are “The Party of Fiscal Responsibility” and “Pay As You Go“
The truth is that Democrats are fiscally responsible. We believe in “pay as you go.” We also believe in “paying down the national debt” and “balanced budgets.” We believe in small, streamlined, but EFFECTIVE government. If balancing the budget and paying down the national debt require raising taxes, Democrats will do so as a last resort rather than be fiscally irresponsible. Democrats focus on labor as the backbone of the economy.
Democrats believe in the working man and woman. We believe in fair wages and benefits. We believe in investing in the American people through social programs as a means of growing the economy. It is much easier to grow an economy where the populace is educated, healthy and has a sense of empowerment and purpose in their lives. If you have lived in an areas where the public school system is less than adequate to meet the needs of the community, you know it is harder to recruit businesses to that area. They want educated workers. They want good schools for their managers’ and executives’ children. They don’t want to spend tons of money re-educating their workers because the public schools are inadequate and are not doing the job.
Republicans are “Borrow and Spend” or “Buy Now, [let our grandkids] Pay Later“
The truth about Republicans is that they are the “borrow and spend” party. During my lifetime, every Republican administration was marked by a burdeoning bureaucracy, incompetence, a exponentially growing national debt and a “credit card” mentality. Republicans have tried to convince us we can “spend our way to a good economy,” and, if that doesn’t work, we can “borrow our way to a good economy.” Republicans focus on investors as the backbone of the economy. They believe in an exclusive economy that only allows the wealthy to play and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Republicans believe in lower taxes — but not for everyone — just for big business and the wealthy. They try to convince middle America that giving tax breaks to the rich will stimulate the economy, but they put no conditions on their tax breaks to ensure that this will happen. Theirs is a trickle-down economic philosophy, but the trickle never seems to make it to my level or the level of most middle class Americans. Consequently, they don’t like social programs. They believe that education, health and other social safety nets are an unnecessary expense (at least for them). Republicans also favor ideas such as the so-called “fair” tax or the “flat” tax, which gives everyone the same tax rate, but it disproportionately penalizes the poor and middle class and gives the upper class more money to burn.
Republicans = Fixed Pie Theory (Consolidate the Wealth)
For Republicans, it’s all about profit. It’s the fixed-pie theory. The fixed-pie theory says our pie is only so big, so, if I want a bigger piece, or if you want a piece at all, it means everyone else has to take a smaller piece. It’s about consolidating wealth among a few supra-sovereign elites who run the show. No sharing allowed — no sharing power, no sharing wealth, no sharing opportunity.
Democrats = Bigger Pie Theory (Share the Wealth)
For Democrats, it’s all about people. Democrats believe in the bigger-pie theory. We say, if the pie is not big enough for everyone to have a good piece, then let’s bake a bigger pie. In other words, let’s grow the economy to include everyone. Democrats believe in the Progressive Tax, which has a floor to protect the poorest in society, and graduates as the income increases, with no loopholes to allow the wealthy and corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
So, how do you say this in a slogan? We need to figure this out before the GE gets too far underway. The unfortunate fact is that most Americans have been programmed to have a short attention span and like to be spoon-fed. We can either accommodate this or ignore it to our detriment.