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Contest Archives Columns Contest Archives REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT - IT'S JUST A MATTER OF INCOME


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        At least I have the clarity of mind, and the honesty, to admit that my choice of political party is solely dependent on how much money I have.  My father was one of those naturalized American immigrants who were able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, make a pile of money and create a secure lifestyle for their families.  He wanted to keep what he had worked so hard to earn, and resented being taxed up to 50% on his various earnings.  So he was, very naturally, a Republican.  I, on the other hand, have never made as much money, have a chronically ill wife who incurs crushing medical expenses, and am frequently in debt.  I think it is fair for the government to levy taxes for entitlement programs that help ease the burden of decent, overstressed people who are doing the best they can but are in danger of drowning every day.  So I am, very naturally, a Democrat. 

        But here is where I differ from most dyed-in-the-wool Dems:  I am completely sure that if I were a wealthy man with properties and investment vehicles, I would switch my allegiance to the Republican Party.  I've never really understood why wealthy Democrat families remain Democrats.

        My observation of my Dad and other Republicans leads me to believe that they donate money to charity, only because their accountants advise them to as a way to avoid even more crushing taxes than they are already paying.  It isn't that they have no human compassion for people who are suffering, but rather that they believe financial insolvency is the result of stupidity and a lack of education - and that the only way to cure bad money habits is through tough love and real-world training in how money works.  They are chronically skeptical that handouts can help people in the long run, because experience has shown that recipients who have not learned fiscal responsibility will just piss-away whatever money they are given, and five years from now will wind up in the same position of debt which prompted the bail-out in the first place.  Wealthy Democrats, in contrast, while benefiting from the same tax breaks, have a more optimistic view of human nature and its potential for growth, and will donate their money in the belief that it will actually help people to get back on their feet and improve their lot - that if they are given a second chance (or even a third or fourth one), they will wake up and see their mistakes, and out of gratitude make better choices in the future. 

        Here's the thing: because my father never taught me the ways of money that he had learned, but instead allowed me to grow up as a spoiled, privileged kid who na├»vely believed in his entitlements, I became just that sort of person who uses-up whatever money he is given and then wonders where it went.  I did finally learn my lesson (as the Democrats believe people can), but it took the greater part of a lifetime and several different bail-outs.  I am now in my early sixties, and am still suffering from the mistakes I made the last time around.  I swear that things will be different in this last stretch of my life, if only I can clear my debts and get beck on top again.  I have learned the error of my ways; I promise!   

        So, herein lies a supreme irony: Even though I am a Democrat, and I benefit from Democrat-powered programs, I believe that the Republican assessment of giving money to people who will just piss it away, is right!  That is exactly what we do!

        But although the Republicans have this clear-headed vision of human nature, they also have an Achilles Heel which makes the Party seem like a slow-moving dinosaur in a fast-paced modern world: They may know what needs to be done in the way of education and the changing of people's habits, but they refuse to do it properly.  Wealthy people are instinctively tight with their money; that's how they got it in the first place.

        And because individual Republicans are tight with their money, the Party as a whole is unwilling to budget as much cash for the running of their programs as those programs will reasonably require.  So our country winds-up with a series of unfunded programs that would have been good if they had the proper funding, but never succeed because they lack the necessary support.  The cop-out justification for this is to blame the recipients of the programs, themselves, for not playing ball.   

         This is the same pattern that my Republican father followed in failing to invest the time and effort in giving his son the proper tough-love training in finances - winding up, instead, simply criticizing his kid for being stupid.          

        Republicans believe that if they could become successful, anybody else can also - after all, this is the promise of America.  But success requires hard work and discipline!  What Republicans don't buy, is that they have any personal responsibility for helping somebody who can't make it on his own.  In life there are winners and there are losers.  The Republican winner sees no reason why he should take time out of his busy life to teach a loser where he went wrong.

        So, I guess that is why wealthy Democrat families remain Democrat: they do see a reason for it.  In their humility and gratitude for the blessings they have received, they are willing to pause and share their experience with others.

        When you think about it, that's a pretty big difference.  I guess I'll remain a Democrat after all, when my ship comes in.




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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ted...this is loaded with truisms, which mirror mine during my lifetime. My family have been Republican's, & we all have strongly believed in a strong work ethic, mostly above the norm. My grandfather was rich, lost it in the 1929 stock market crash, then 3 generations of above average wage earners. After a divorce with 4 kids, I worked two full-time jobs for 23 years, & in retrospect, I don't recommend it. Thus, those who are not fiscally responsible, lazy, or pis-away their money - do not get any of my respect. Even planning ahead, checking out financial planners, & following all of the supposedly intelligent recommendations for your money - can eventually bite you in the butt. The latest stock market downturn, those darn unexpected health related expenses, plus all prices for consumers skyrocketing - can certainly push a person into becoming an Independent. Maybe we should invest our time, money, & efforts into the Tea Party? Even Newt Gingrich is beginning to look better. I've never been big on donating money, but those 70,000 manhours of volunteer work during my lifetime was my personal answer. And my Dad, he gave me Hell for pissing-away all of that work for nothing. He couldn't, or wouldn't understand that it was similar to a hobby with me, plus the people who surrounded me in my efforts, & reciprocated with their friendship & respect. My ship has sailed, & actually sank off of Buzzard's Bay, but still hanging with Republican's. :)
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