Left vs. Right: Can Anyone Tell The Difference?

November 3, 2009 at 12:56 am Leave a comment

I just began reading Ludwig von Mises’ Critique of Interventionism, and the first sentence of the preface jumped out at me:

The fighting between nations and states, and domesti­cally between political parties, pressure groups, and cliques, so greatly occupies our attention that we tend to overlook the fact that all the fighting parties, in spite of their furious battling, pursue identical economic objectives.

This was as true in the 1920s when this was written as it is today.  Sure, the Republican Party always plays the part of the free-marketeers when a Democrat attains the Presidency, but in terms of actually restoring free markets, they consistently drop the ball.  As economist Walter Williams put it,

Liberals believe government should take people’s earnings to give to poor people. Conservatives disagree. They think government should confiscate people’s earnings and give them to farmers and insolvent banks. The compelling issue to both conservatives and liberals is not whether it is legitimate for government to confiscate one’s property to give to another, the debate is over the disposition of the pillage.

Of course, since Williams wrote this, we’ve come to learn that both parties are just as comfortable giving other people’s money to insolvent banks, but the point remains.  Whether it’s redistribution of wealth, protectionism, or taxes, the Republican Party has proven again and again that it’s not the principles of the Democratic Party that they disagree with, just with the degree to which they’re implemented.

As for me, I’m still waiting for the day when tax rates are brought back to a reasonable level.  Franklin D. Roosevelt elevated the bottom tax bracket over 1.5% for the first time in 1932 and raised the top tax rate over 30%.  Since that time, no Republican has ever brought taxes back below the levels set by FDR (the current tax range goes from 10% to 35%).  How do we fix this?  Stop rewarding the Republican Party for their empty rhetoric by giving them our votes.  Show them that if they won’t stand up for freedom, there are other political parties out there who will.

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