[Promoted from the Diaries by streiff. Dan Bongino is running for Senate in the People's Republic of Maryland so Ben Cardin can spend more time with his family and less with his hand in your wallet. I've met Dan and he's the real deal. Drop by his website and contribute to his campaign.]
Politicians who reference the term “inequality” typically use it in a generic fashion intended to intentionally deceive their audience. It is far easier to sell failed economic policies with a basis in intentions, not results, to an audience eager to find a cause for our economic maladies when the target is non-specific. These same politicians speak as if the most successful members of our American family are the problem and not the solution. Can we all agree that the problem to be solved is not impoverishing those who have found prosperity, but improving the lives of those who continue to seek it?
I propose that persistent economic inequality is a problem that Republicans should acknowledge and not run from. If we were to take the President’s words at face value, when he places blame at the feet of the successful members of our American family for not paying their “fair share”, than clearly higher tax rates would be the answer. This is a gross oversimplification of the issue. A rudimentary historical analysis of national economies with heavy progressive taxation and economic redistribution would show a litany of failure. This is not an ideological position based on a vested interest as I am not, nor have I ever been, wealthy. I was raised in poverty and proudly live a middle-class life in a middle-class town. I have felt both the pain of hunger and the exhilaration of a healthy paycheck.
We could dramatically improve the lives of the members of our American Family seeking prosperity if we were to change course in the following areas: interest rate policies, the insider tax code, and parent choice in education. The direction the President has pursued in each of these areas has done more to damage the American dreams of our inner-city youth, small business owners and struggling seniors than Warren Buffett’s tax rates ever have.
Our current tax and spend agenda has forced upon us an incessant need to borrow money to fund our profligate bureaucracy. Enabling this process has been a Federal Reserve intent on keeping interest rates artificially low through various devices such as rounds of quantitative easing and purchases of mortgage instruments. These processes have destroyed the collective value of our savings. American seniors currently living on fixed incomes and a lifetime of savings receive a financial return on their money barely keeping pace with inflation. When the inflation rate inevitably begins to tick upwards our seniors will find their money buys less, pushing them further down the economic ladder. This is the direct result of a government which cannot control its profligacy.
Our overly complicated and insider driven tax-code is another instrument by which the boot of government keeps those struggling for prosperity from attaining it. The small business owner who gets up at 5am, hops into his work van and delivers the products of his labor to his customers hardly benefits from a tax code designed to benefit those with access to power brokers. We all agree that the tax code, at nearly 70,000 pages, is overly complicated and a drag on productivity. Why not simplify it? Career politicians do not want to simplify the tax code because it takes away their power to enable their politically favored friends and industries, through tax breaks, at the expense of those businesses just asking for a fair shot.
The most important part of the prosperity equation is access to a quality education through parent choice. Escaping my poverty due to a high quality education, I have a vested interest in this topic. According to a noted education publication, Maryland has the nation’s top public schools. But conveniently hidden in this ranking is the fact that we rank near the bottom in educational disparity. This is our fight. The color of your skin, the birthplace of your parents, or the zip code of your address should not be a factor in your ability to access the same American dream I have lived. These children are entitled to a shot too. When the President, and my opponent Senator Cardin, voted against the DC opportunity scholarship program, they clearly stated their priorities. Special interest insiders won out over families just looking for a fair shot at our collective American dream.
The current crop of change minded Republicans, pushing a bold agenda, should not run from this fight. Persistent income inequality is a subject I relish the opportunity to debate my political opponent on. It is time to stop blaming straw men, and start fixing the problem. Making the successful suffer by confiscating more of the fruits of their labor will only lead to shared misery. We as Republicans must embrace this mission. This is our fight, our moment, our time to show the American people the real face of a new Republican party.
Dan Bongino is the Republican nominee for United States Senate in Maryland
His campaign can be reached at [email protected]