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Commentary

Politicians’ Abuse of the Working Class


     
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Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore promises to fight for the working class. Does this mean that Gore intends to support the privatization of Social Security? Is he going to permit wage earners to acquire family nest eggs in place of retirement benefits paid by taxing employment? Will Gore allow a tax deduction for private medical insurance? Will wage-earners be able to choose their own doctors and treatments and escape from their dependence on bureaucratically supplied medicine that is rationed and regulated to fit budget parameters?

Don''t hold your breath. The Democratic Party has done nothing but harm to the working class for a half century.

What makes an employee successful is his productivity. Productivity depends on education and skills, and on the quality of the technology and tools with which the employee works.

What have the Democrats done for public education except destroy it? The more federal money and regulation that Democrats throw at education, the worse and less accountable it becomes. Test scores, watered down curriculums, the growth of private schools and the public demand for vouchers all attest to the harm Democrats have inflicted on public education. Democrats sacrificed the productivity of the working class to the special interest lobby group known as the National Education Association.

What have Democrats done for capital investment, which equips employees with the latest technology and productive equipment? When did you last hear a Democrat speak in favor of eliminating the tax bias against saving and investment? Where is a Democrat who wants to eliminate the double-, triple-, quadruple-taxation of investment income? Where is the Democrat who wants to cut the capital gains tax or abolish the death tax?

Such Democrats are hard to find, and Al Gore is definitely not one of them. Al Gore opposes every tax measure that every economist everywhere in the world knows would raise the productivity and real incomes of employees. The Democrats sacrificed the productivity of wage earners to class warfare.

What Al Gore means when he promises to fight for the working class is that he will steadfastly oppose every measure that would increase their financial independence and wellbeing. By holding people down, Democrats create dependency groups, which they compensate with federal handouts and redistributions paid for by taxes that suppress earnings and independence. Food stamps, housing subsidies, educational subsidies, medical care, child care, Social Security - these are programs that create dependency and voting blocks that can be mobilized by spreading alarm that Republicans will cut the subsidies or damage the programs.

The great achievement of the Democratic Party in the 20th century was to create vast government bureaucracies that use taxpayers'' monies to do for the people what they are not permitted to do for themselves.

For Al Gore, "fighting for the working class" means keeping its members dependent on federal handouts. It is a new form of slavery whereby government tax and regulatory policies interfere with a person''s ability to achieve his potential and, thereby, throw him back into dependency on government handouts.

This is the essence of Democratic Party politics. It is supplemented with pandering to "victims groups" - homosexuals, feminists, abortionists and blacks - that are compensated for their victimhood with the award of various preferments and special legal privileges.

News coverage of the Democratic National Convention described "important Democratic constituencies" as "black leaders, unions, teachers, the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League." Throw in gun-banners, the liberal media and homosexuals, and the Democratic constituency is complete.

What does the working man have in common with this constituency? Nothing at all. Most hunters and gun owners are people in the working class. Thanks to public education, their children no longer respect them. Abortion and "sex education" have brought them the shame of promiscuous daughters. Feminism has made it possible for their wives to walk out on them at will and dispossess them in the process. Racial minorities favored by Democrats have gained preferments at their expense. The payroll tax and income tax prevent them from saving and leave them dependent on the very government that undermines them.

Never has a class been so abused by a political party as the working class has been by Democrats.


Paul Craig Roberts is the John M. Olin fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, research fellow at the Independent Institute and senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.






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