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Counterpoint: A cure for inequality


Jason Reese July 31st, 2008

The question of inequality, both social and economic, is typical of how liberals " and Barack Obama specifically " just don't get it. They focus on the extremes of rich and poor and ignore the great A...

The question of inequality, both social and economic, is typical of how liberals " and Barack Obama specifically " just don't get it. They focus on the extremes of rich and poor and ignore the great American middle class. In seeking to assuage their guilt for their comfortable lives, today's limousine liberals push for policies of handouts to the vulnerable, which are always just enough to continue dependency. 

These policies are paid for by high taxes. The people who feel the burden are the middle classes. But the liberals won't stop merely at raising and maintaining high taxes. Continuing a bureaucratic system designed for the heavy industrial era of 80 years ago in the name of equality skews the marketplace in favor of big business and big labor to the detriment of small business and independent workers. Large companies have the ability to absorb the additional costs of compliance and are most convenient for regulators to monitor. 

Furthermore, liberals mistakenly view inequality through a static lens, misunderstanding the highly dynamic nature of modern America's economy and society. By allegedly seeking to solve a problem, they merely serve to exacerbate it. 

Sen. John McCain represents the revived Republican tradition of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. This tradition, which columnist and political commentator David Brooks has described as consisting of national unity and social mobility, is especially appropriate for our time. Sen. McCain supports family-friendly tax policies such as eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax threatening the middle class and extending the child tax credit. McCain's support of school choice is a perfect example of our post-bureaucratic future. For all his talk of new politics, Sen. Obama is absent on the issue that could best end the era of one-size-fits-all government and inaugurate customized, user-friendly public services.

The promise of America, nowhere more so than in the West, is the opportunity to build a decent life for your family. Not extravagant riches, but security and independence. The first great legislative achievement of the Republican Party was the Homestead Act of 1862, without which Oklahoma as we know it would have been impossible. The Homestead Act made it possible for a poor family, oppressed by monopoly and corrupt government in the East, to file a short application, move onto federal land, improve it, and then take ownership. The small farms created by this law were the small businesses of the 19th century. Just imagine the contrast between the streamlined regulatory framework of that day compared to the obstacle course set out before the aspiring entrepreneur today.

McCain isn't tainted by the corporate scandals. He was not just distant, but rather antagonistic to the misdeeds of Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Enron and the rest. He is in perfect position to move from the stalemate between Big Business and Big Government where the small businessman and individual gets crushed in the middle. McCain can point to the real cure for inequality " opportunity for all. Low taxes, regulatory flexibility and honest government are how we will get there.

Jason Reese is an attorney who lives with his wife and son in Oklahoma City.

 
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