There are several common assumptions about Republicans and the Republican Party that are simply untrue. These are major assumptions that have persisted for a long time. You would think that time and a little sunlight would reveal the truth underneath the magic trick, but a few effective practices have allowed the myth to persist in the minds of many good humans.
Before getting to the point, let’s just follow a few questions to their logical end.
What happens if you significantly cut taxes on the rich? First of all, those people (and corporations if we are including corporations) pay the government less tax. One thing that means is that those people (and corporations) have more money to put elsewhere. Given that they are rich, however, that doesn’t mean spending more on food or services — they already had the money for that. It might mean buying more real estate (from another rich person), investing more in stocks (which basically shifts money between the wealthy in other ways), buying expensive art (from other rich people), or perhaps investing into a startup.
Another thing that means is that the government gets less money. If we assume the government must eventually balance its budget, or at least go in that direction, that means cutting spending on the military (doesn’t really happen), social security and medicare (unprecedented, but some Republicans are pushing hard for this), transportation infrastructure, education, or other public services and structures meant to benefit society as a whole — not just rich people.
In other words, it means giving rich people more money and taking money away from things that are meant to help everyone in society.
What happens if you significantly cut regulations? What are regulations? Regulations are rules put in place by governments in order to protect their citizens. Basically, they are meant to protect citizens from abusive, dangerous, and harmful actions corporations might otherwise be inclined to take. Somehow, “regulations” has come to be seen as a bad word by much of the public. But what is actually bad about protecting citizens from corporate abuse?
Yes, outdated regulations should be retired. Yes, regulations can sometimes cost companies more money, which makes it harder for them to make their shareholders richer, or perhaps prevents corporations from spending money elsewhere. However, any regulation on the books should theoretically be there for the purpose of protecting humans from rich and powerful corporations (and thus rich and powerful people).
Taxes on the rich and regulations help the vast majority of society. They help to make sure the majority of the population has decent goods and services, community space, and livability. They help to make sure that money isn’t just hoarded by the 1–10%, but it spread across the population in a more even way in order to appreciate the value of every human life and the usefulness they provide to society.
In the end, more and better services and infrastructure for the masses, as well as strong regulations that protect the masses from corporate abuse, make for a happier and healthier population, which makes for a nicer society for everyone — rich and poor alike. A stronger and healthier middle class and lower class result in a stronger economy. Somehow, the opposite of that has been sold to much of the public.
Much of the public confusingly believes that cutting taxes on the super rich will lead to a stronger economy, and that cutting regulations will result in a stronger economy. Plenty of in-depth research has shown why this is not true. But just looking at the matter in a careful way for a few moments can tell you the same. No, putting more money in the pockets of the super rich instead of the masses is not good for the economy. No, letting corporations pollute, abuse, and actually kill more citizens is not good for the economy.
Republican politicians and some of their supporters use a few effective communication strategies and phrases to sell their policies and accumulate votes. But they are nothing more than a well tested and perhaps even innocent con. These nice-sounding talking points — which betray the reality of what makes a strong economy — can make people think that the Republican Party is the party of the economy, but it is not. The Republican Party is the party that supports putting more and more wealth into the hands of the rich and super rich. That also means the Republican Party is the party that favors sucking more and more wealth from the middle class and the poor and putting it into the bank accounts of the rich and super rich. You can try to cloud the story in various ways, but that’s the essence of it. If your party supports cutting taxes on the rich, cutting government-provided services and infrastructure, and letting corporations cut their costs at the expensive of workers and the public, that means your party supports shifting more of our wealth from the middle class and poor to the wealthiest people in society.
The ironic things are: it doesn’t even help the rich in the end, and giving the rich more money does practically nothing for their happiness or lack thereof.