Words with Republicans

I’m not a Republican. There, glad that’s overwith. Still, Kevin Williamson posted this set of answers to a “questionnaire” that’s really not much of a questionnaire. It was on Facebook, but he’s allowed me to post it here:

1) If Republicans are so fiscally responsible, why was President Eisenhower (in the 1950?s) the last Republican president to balance the budget?

Answer: False premise; the last Republican to balance the budget was Newt Gingrich. Presidents don’t write budgets, cannot authorize spending, and cannot authorize taxes. Congress does that.

2) If President Reagan was such a fiscally conservative hero, why did he quadruple our national debt during his eight years in the White House?

Answer: False premise; Tip O’Neill quadrupled the national debt. Presidents don’t write budgets, cannot authorize spending, and cannot authorize taxes. Congress does that.

3) If tax breaks are the main driving force behind job creation, how would we create jobs once tax rates were reduced to practically zero?

Answer: Tax breaks are not the main force behind job creation; demand for labor is the main force behind job creation.

4) If socialized health care is so awful, why does every country that leads the world in life expectancy have socialized health care?

Answer: What on earth do you mean by “socialized medicine”? If you mean single-payer, then your premises are, as seems to be the developing trend here, wrong. The longest-lived countries are Japan and Switzerland, neither of which is single-payer. Counterquestion: If socialized medicine is great, how come people on Medicaid have some terrible health outcomes?

5) If you support the freedom of religion (as per our Constitution), and my church recognizes gay marriage, isn’t your support for the banning of same-sex marriage an attack on my religion’s First Amendment rights?

Answer: No, your church can believe what it wants. The question is the legal status of same-sex relationships. Counterquestion: The Church of Kevin says nobody should ever have to pay more than 10 percent in taxes — is the IRS violating my First Amendment rights?

6) What’s more realistic? 1) That an entire region of the United States that supported slavery in the late-1800?s and support segregation in the 1950?s and 60?s suddenly stopped being racist, or 2) The racist southern Democrats in the south became Republicans during the 50?s and 60?s when the Republican party shifted toward an idea called the “Southern Strategy,” where the GOP appealed to the racism in southern whites who didn’t like African Americans voting for Democrats.

Answer: False premise. Southern voters in the main did not become Republicans until the 1990s, as shown by Southern congressional delegations, state governments, etc. In presidential elections, Southern states voted overwhelmingly for Republicans such as Nixon and Reagan, but then so did Vermont.

7) If taxes are at some of their lowest levels in history, and the wealthiest in this country are richer than ever, why hasn’t the growth in the wealth of the middle class matched that of the top 2%?

Answer: Because in a world of globally integrated markets returns to skill and entrepreneurial success at the high end of the market are very large, while pressure on moderate-to-low-skill wages is very strong. Wealthy Americans are getting wealthier for the same reason that wealthy Swedes are getting wealthier, despite having a very different tax code.

8) If our Founding Fathers wanted this nation to be based on Christianity, why don’t the words “Christian” or “Christianity” appear even once in our Constitution?

Answer: They expected the republic to continue as part of Christian civilization, not to have a U.S. version of the Church of England. India has a secular constitution, but nobody seems to much doubt that it is a Hindu country, in spite of the presence of non-Hindu minorities.

9) If a Republican president reduced massive job losses in the midst of the worst recession in nearly a century by more than 50% in his first 4 months in office; presided over 44 consecutive months of private-sector job growth creating nearly 8 million jobs; killed Osama bin Ladin; saw stock markets reach all-time highs; saved the American auto industry; increased domestic oil production to highs not seen since the late-90?s and championed the largest year-to-year deficit reductions since World War II, would your party not be calling him a hero and a legend?

Answer: Since when did you guys start loving the stock market, which contributes so much to the inequality you’re so worried about in No. 7? Counterquestion: If a Republican president’s term coincided with the lowest workforce-participation rate in recent history, an illegal war in Libya, and the illegal assassination of U.S. citizens based on their Facebook histories, would you not call him … something less than heroic?

10. If Jesus spent his life helping the poor and the needy, how does it make sense that a party which claims to be for “Christian values” continues to cut funding for programs that help the poor and the needy?

Answer: Let me help you out here: Jesus commanded his followers to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. He did not command them to petition Caesar to seize their neighbors’ assets and to use them to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. Also, you’re begging the question: If you compare money spent to changes in the poverty rate, there is little or no evidence that these programs actually “help the poor and the needy.” They do create a lot of full-time jobs and vote banks for Democrats. By their fruit shall ye know them.

CONCLUSION: Whoever wrote this questionnaire, which is in fact no so much a questionnaire as a litany of banalities, is not very bright and should be kept far from the levers of political power.

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