The GOPs typical campaign rhetoric today sounds a lot like it did three decades ago. Republicans need to change how they talk about issues.
Lets start with taxes. The message from the GOPs Democratic Party opponents, along with much of the media, has been consistent: The only thing Republicans want to do is cut taxes for the rich. The GOPs traditional response has been right out of the Ronald Reagan playbook: Low taxes are good for the economy, they promote economic growth, and a rising tide lifts all boats. All that is true, but the GOP is missing a much stronger argument with more appeal to a new group of younger voters.
Far from lowering the tax burden for the rich, Republican tax legislation has done the reverse. The United States has the most progressive tax system among all developed countries! That is, we take more from the rich (relative to other taxpayers) than any other country. Going all the way back to the Reagan administration, every time Republicans passed a tax bill, they exempted more and more people from the income tax. As a result, more than half of the population doesnt pay any income tax at all.
Every Republican tax bill has ultimately shifted more of the burden of taxation to higher-income taxpayers, making the tax system more progressive. Republicans need to make this point clearly and repeatedly.
Republicans also do a poor job of pointing out Democratic hypocrisy. Last year, Democrats talked about their desire to extend the child tax credit, expand Medicaid, and allow low-income families who cant afford their employers health plan to get subsidized insurance on the healthcare exchanges.
But when it came time to legislate, they did none of those things. Instead, they did something they rarely ever talked about. Their Inflation Reduction Act extended tax subsidies for health insurance for households who make hundreds of thousands of dollars . Republicans should publicize this welfare for the wealthy and why it should be opposed.
When they are not accusing Republicans of favoring tax cuts for the rich, the other left-wing bromide is the Democrats claim that the GOP wants to dismantle the social safety net.
In fact, the most important safety net we have, one that gives virtually everyone a ticket out of poverty if they are willing to work, is a Republican creation: the earned income tax credit. Introduced in 1975, this credit was based on the idea of a negative income tax, proposed by Milton Friedman. Closely related is the child tax credit, created by a Republican Congress in 1997. Because of these two measures, by 2018, it was virtually impossible for a working mother to be poor (in terms of cash income), even if she earned only the minimum wage!
An example: In 2018, the poverty threshold for a single parent with two children was $20,780. A working mother who received the minimum wage would also receive an earned income tax credit of $5,728 and child tax credits of $4,000. Her total income: $24,808, or $4,028 above the poverty level.
In contrast, under the Democrats continuing war on poverty, healthcare money goes to doctors and hospitals, housing money goes to landlords and developers, food stamp money goes to agribusiness, education money goes to school bureaucracies, etc. By contrast, every refundable tax credit dollar goes directly to a low-income family.
Republicans have a powerful story to tell. Its time for them to tell it.