GOP, Dem Positions Are Clearly Different

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - October 27, 2010
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Once again we come to that magical time in our state and national political cycle when we have the opportunity to change the things that work against our best interest and that of our neighbors, our children, our society, our economy, our environment, our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Or we can forgo that opportunity and leave things the way they are, just live with them and accept the consequences without complaining. It’s called ... (drum roll!) ... an “election”!

Of course, the easiest way to accomplish the latter is to simply not vote. The next easiest way to accomplish the latter is to mindlessly vote a party ticket - all one party or the other (“because that’s the way our family has always done it!”). The third easiest is to vote for all incumbents.

Or, if we prefer the former option, “to change the things that work against our best interest,” here are some simple general rules of cause and effect that can guide us on three of the most important issues for our state: size of government and taxes (yes, they go together), jobs and education. They each relate to size of government and taxes.

1) Size of government and taxes: Democratic Party candidates generally believe government should take care of all our needs - the “welfare state.” In a welfare state, as people become more and more dependent on the government, they tend to get contented with dependency and vote Democrat for more government and less personal responsibility for their own welfare. Of course, a safety net for the poor is essential, but overall, this requires higher taxes to pay for all the benefits. Problem is, the people receiving most of the benefits pay less in taxes (if any), and the people receiving fewer benefits pay more in taxes. For example, the record shows that the Democrat-controlled state Legislature voted for higher taxes approximately 14 times last session. The Republican governor vetoed all of them, but the legislators over-rode four of her vetoes, hence higher taxes for bigger government. Republican Party candidates would point out that the Declaration of Independence specifies “inalienable rights, endowed by our Creator, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” The “pursuit” is guaranteed, not the “happiness” - that is the individual’s responsibility. So with which general approach do you agree? Vote accordingly.

2) Jobs: Most Hawaii jobs are created by small businesses willing to risk their own money or take on debt to provide a product or service for profit. But the bigger the government with more bureaucratic rules and regulations, reporting requirements and, now, with more onerous employee health care requirements plus, in many cases, Democrat-supported union intervention in day-to-day management decisions and higher taxes on top of it all, small businesses are not expanding to create more jobs. Some are closing, thereby eliminating jobs. Republican candidates generally favor smaller government with less intervention and lower taxes, thereby encouraging small businesses to flourish, creating more jobs. Vote accordingly.

3) Education: Our Republican governor was elected, in great part, on the strength of her plan to improve Hawaii’s education system, a system that has consistently caused our children to score at or near the bottom in national test scores for more than a decade. Hawaii is the only state in the union with one, monolithic Department of Education and one Board of Education for the entire state. Can we make the connection, please? The governor’s plan was to decentralize: a separate school board for each Neighbor Island county and three for Oahu. Policy could then be made closer and better tailored to the end user. Principals would have more autonomy and responsibility to (in consultation with his/her local school board) set curriculum and hire/fire teachers. But with the strong urging of the Hawaii State Teachers’ Association, the Democrat Legislature killed the plan and implemented its own (Act 51), a Band-Aid that has really changed nothing, as far as student achievement goes.

That’s the difference between Republican and Democrat plans. Vote accordingly to make a difference!

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