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When you think of the Republican Party do you think of it as the party of yes or the party of no? It might be surprising to hear this, but many Republicans have mixed feelings about what the Republicans should be perceived as in this day in age.
What do you think of being the party of no? Are you like Sarah Palin who believes that “there is no shame in being the party of no.” Are you even more passionate about the idea like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal who says we should go one step further and be the party of “hell no.” Of course not all agree with the approach. Newt Gingrich said that “what the left wants to do is say we’re the party of ‘no.’ I think we should decide we’re going to be the party of ‘yes.’” It’s all enough to make your head spin.
A recent Vanity Fair article entitled the “Cost of No” tries to outline the cost of a Republican “no” votes. Their argument is that Republicans “continue to pull down their taxpayer-funded salaries, enjoy their government sponsored benefits, and accept tax free donations to think tanks” despite their “commitment to doing exactly nothing.” Clever premise. Poor execution. After all, it literally begs for someone to look at just how much Democrats spent being the party of constant “yes.” Should we bailout the banks. Yes! Should we throw money to the wind in the hopes it will help the economy? Yes! Should we pass a trillion dollar health care reform bill that we aren’t sure we can afford and are absolutely sure nobody likes? Yes, yes, yes!
So let’s take a look at the cost of “yes.” Something tells me it will make Republicans look like an absolute bargain.
THE STIMULUS: Democrats have waivered on their measure of success. Whether it is jobs created or saved the results do not justify the $816 billion price tag.
HEALTH CARE: Forget all the gimmicky savings that the Democrats claim. Forget the first ten years of implementation that uses 10 years of taxes to pay for 6 years of new services. The true ten-year bottom line is $2.3 trillion. Moreover, people still don’t, like it. The latest Rasmussen poll finds that only 35% of voters feel that the new health care law will be good for the country while 52% believe it will be bad.
DISCRETIONARY SPENDING HIKE: In December President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill including six appropriation bills which pushed total non-stimulus, non-defense appropriations at $583 billion – an 8.2% increase over the previous years domestic spending.
INTEREST: With a record shattering $1.4 trillion federal deficit in 2009 (the previous record, also held by Obama was $458 billion) and a mind numbing $11.9 trillion national debt its getting more and more expensive to afford interest payments. This year’s price tag for our government’s largesse: $199 billion.
SALARIES: Vanity Fair made it a point to focus on the salaries of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner (roughly $174,000/year) but failed to mention that Nancy Pelosi makes $217,400 or that Harry Reid makes $193,4000. Democrats’ share of total salaries paid since the start of the 111th Congress $69.1 million
STAFF: The article laments that Congressional entourages have grown in recent years. The article picks on Republican Senator James Inhofe for employing 62 people in 2009. Gasp! It is admittedly a lot and possibly too many. But it overlooks the fact that Democrats do the same thing. For instance Harry Reid has a staff of 65 or Charles Schumer who has a staff of 90! Using Vanity Fair’s own metric, a conservative estimate of Democrats’ staff salaries is $333.3 million.
BENEFITS: Democrats’ share of benefits including, on site doctors office, health plan, parking, meals, memberships to the house gym, etc: $235.2 million
EXPENSES: Democrats’ total – $769 million
KEEPING THE LIGHTS ON: Democrats total – $406 million
THINK TANKS: Ok, I’m leaving this one off the list. Although Vanity Fair may have felt it necessary to include the “cost” of policy institutes in terms of tax losses from their tax exempt status so as to make their bottom line more eye-popping, I think Democrats number will speak for itself. Plus, what on earth does this have to do with the cost of a Congressman? L
TOTAL OF THE DIRECT TAXPAYER COSTS OF “YES”: $3.898 trillion
That makes the cost of saying “no” about $3.87 trillion cheaper than saying “yes.”
The point is that “yes” or “no” doesn’t mean a thing if only taken in the abstract. Saying “yes” to a bad policy that pushes our nation closer to the brink of bankruptcy is not an admirable trait. Republicans are not the party of “no” but we are happy to be the party who says no to bad and expensive policies. The government must make tough choices to get this nation’s fiscal future back on track. If you want Republicans to start saying “yes” then start proposing some spending cuts, changes to the tax code, or entitlement reforms.
by Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee
Read more: www.collegerepublicans.org