Dem Platform Follies
On Friday, the Democratic Party unveiled its 2016 national platform, promising to put “a middle-class life within the reach of more Americans.” Unfortunately, the party’s proposals will do the opposite. They will slow economic growth, prevent millions of people from advancing up the economic ladder and hold back their children, too.
Democrats claim America’s gravest problem is extreme inequality. That misses the target. Americans who are stuck on the bottom rungs of the ladder are justifiably angry. Not because the rich have more, but because the system seems rigged to prevent them from succeeding.
The American dream promises that no matter how humbly you start, you should be able to work your way up and see your children go even higher. But liberal policies are making it harder to climb the ladder, says Francis Buckley in his riveting new book, “The Way Back.” Buckley shows that liberal mistakes on immigration, education and taxes have dragged the U.S. below most European nations and Canada in economic mobility.
The democrats’ platform doubles down on the same misguided policies: over-taxation, lax immigration standards and slavish protection of the public school monopoly.
The democrats’ tax platform is an ignorant, anti-business rant. It sounds like Bernie Sanders channeling Eugene Debs, a founder of the Socialist Party in America: “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality,” it states, “we believe the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations must pay their fair share in taxes.”
Fair? The U.S. already taxes corporations at higher rates than most countries — one reason the Obama economy hovers around 1.7 percent annual growth while other countries are doing far better. Meager growth here means fewer job opportunities and less mobility.
Democrats threaten they will make “American corporations pay U.S. taxes immediately on foreign profits” so they can “no longer escape paying their fair share … by stashing profits abroad.” That’s a red herring. Most countries don’t even tax profits made outside their borders.
Stupid threats like that will make American companies pull up stakes and move, taking jobs with them.
On education, the platform’s adamant defense of the neighborhood public school monopoly is immoral. Democrats pledge more “resources” for “Pre-K-12 schools in every zip code.” There’s no evidence that more spending improves public schools. Teachers in the U.S. are already among the highest paid teachers in the world.
What is obvious is that children should not be forced to attend public schools in their own zip code. Trapping poor kids in low-performing neighborhood schools stops the process of economic mobility before it can even start.
The children of the political elite have plenty of options. The Obamas sent their daughters to the tony Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school the Clintons chose for their daughter. But these democrats oppose vouchers that would give other parents the ability to choose private or parochial schools.
The Democratic Party’s platform shamelessly parrots teachers unions’ demands. It’s a corrupt political bargain. In exchange for the millions of votes the union can deliver, the party protects incompetent teachers and locks poor children into the same life path as their parents.
Democrats whine about inequality, but their immigration platform exacerbates it. They advocate giving preference to relatives of people already here. Stressing family ties inevitably brings in droves of unskilled, often unemployable people, especially from Mexico. It’s a recipe for increasing inequality — the very thing they claim to oppose.
Our nation’s policy should be: Show us your Ph.D or what your economic contribution will be, no matter what your race, national origin or family connections.
As for welfare benefits, democrats predictably call for an increase. But once health and education benefits are counted, the U.S. already provides more generous welfare benefits than Britain, Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Japan and most other countries, as Buckley points out.
Democrats complain loudly, “Too many Americans have been left out and left behind.” Unfortunately, this platform won’t help them.
Betsy McCaughey is chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths and a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and author of “Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution.”