More than a dime’s worth of difference

In the June 30 and July 28 columns, I summarized key differences between Democrats and Republicans: (1) Democrats favor progressive taxation; Republicans favor huge tax cuts for the very wealthy. (2) Democrats are pro-labor; Republicans are anti-union. (3) Democrats support Social Security, Medicare, and national health insurance; Republicans oppose them. (4) Democrats are pro-choice; Republicans want to outlaw abortion and stem-cell research.

In a long letter published here July 21, Tim Binder took issue with those claims.

(1) Mr. Binder objects that Democrats support taxation of every kind and that Republicans want tax cuts for everyone, the rich and the poor alike – conveniently overlooking the fact that Democrats always seek to raise and Republicans always seek to lower the top income tax rate and the capital gains tax rate. Some Republicans say the flat tax is the way to go. Republican Ronald Reagan once said that big corporations should pay no federal taxes at all because they are job-creators.

(2) Mr. Binder objects to my characterization of Republicans as anti-union, but then launches an all-out attack on unions, especially public service unions and government workers’ pensions, which he implicitly blames for the current budget crisis in state and local government.

(3) Mr. Binder objects, preposterously it seems to me, that if the Democrats truly supported Social Security and Medicare, these funds would not be threatened with bankruptcy – conveniently overlooking the fact that it is ongoing Republican efforts to kill, de-fund, privatize, and otherwise “reform” these programs that most jeopardizes their future.

(4) Mr. Binder objects that some Democrats favor some limits on abortion – conveniently overlooking the fact that since 1980 Republicans have pledged to criminalize abortion and to appoint judges and Supreme Court justices who support that goal. He then makes clear that he does, in fact, oppose legal abortion and stem-cell research on human embryos.

Mr. Binder closes his letter with a long quotation from President Kennedy. This non-sequitur has nothing to do with the questions under discussion, so it serves to further obscure the important differences between the parties — as if JFK would support the Republican position on any of these matters.

Most Democrats support progressive taxation, Social Security, Medicare, and national health insurance. Most Democrats are pro-labor and pro-choice.

Most Republicans oppose progressive taxation and seek to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, and the Obama health care initiative. Most Republicans are anti-union and anti-choice.

More than a dime’s worth of difference, yes?

Gordon Clanton teaches sociology at San Diego State University. He welcomes comments at