Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Club Dues

As Michael Tomasky points out:
When Republicans attack Democrats, the attacks quite often go right to the heart of Democratic essence, and philosophy. “My opponent is a big-government, big-spending, high-taxing” etc. That gets it all in there in a few short words. Every Republican says it, and the fact is that it’s typically at least sort of true, because Democrats do believe in government and spending and taxes. As a result, in almost every American election, the Democrat is instantly put on the defensive, while the Republican is playing offense.
It's long past time for the Democrats to put the Republicans on the defensive.  Here's one way.

Say to your audience: Suppose you are a dues-paying member of a club - a club that has nice buildings, and a raft of services and activities that are important to you, a club of which you expect you will be a lifetime member.  The dues are sizeable, but they keep the club in good repair and operating smoothly, and the dues are affordable: there's a sliding scale based on your income.

Now suppose the club secretary reduces your club dues, and the drop in funds results in the buildings not being properly maintained, and the services and operations that make the club so desirable cut back.  Would you consider that a responsible action on his part?  Would you re-elect him just because he cut your membership dues?

As Americans, we are members of the best club in the world: the USA.  Our club dues are the taxes we pay to maintain our country's physical structures and services.  The deal offered by Republicans is to cut our "club dues" - our taxes - pandering to our natural desire to keep as much of our income as we can, while not making clear how the country's infrastructure and R&D are suffering from our refusal to pay taxes to maintain them. (The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that we need to invest $3.6 trillion over the next six years to get the US's infrastructure up to A level - at the moment, the society rates our infrastructure at a D+ - but the Republican continue to block significant funding for the needed investments.)

So the Democrats could go on the offensive, saying:  We are members of the best club in the world.  To maintain that club, we need to pay our club dues - the taxes that fund the investments that keep our country strong.  The Republicans are pandering to you and sabotaging the country by cutting taxes below a reasonable level.  Step up and be willing to pay your club dues!

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