February 7, 2009 - Difference Between a D and an R

Q. What is the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?

A. A Democrat identifies a need, defines it as a problem, and looks for a government solution. The Republican identifies a need, defines it as an opportunity, and expects a market solution.

Let’s look at an example from a Republican point of view. My aunt died suddenly in December, leaving no will and no instructions. Since then I have spent a lot of time with my sister and our husbands sorting papers, packing mementoes and hauling furniture. We spent three days the last week of January cleaning out her apartment in Seattle, traveling from our homes in Oregon and eastern Washington. We had to move fast, and tried to make sure as much as possible was recycled or donated appropriately. We muddled through as best we could in on-the-job training mode, and if/when called upon to do this again, we’ll be a lot sharper at it.

As we took a break from packing, we agreed how lucky we were to have the flexibility to make time to do this ourselves. It would be tough for a lot of folks to take time off from their jobs or away from their business. My sister observed the business potential for a “green” estate management service, cleaning out households with an assurance to busy and far-flung families that accumulated stuff was sorted and recycled, building contacts with non-profits to find useful outlets for everything and reporting back to the family to ease their minds. I suggested adding a mediation service when old family dynamics complicate decision making. My brother-in-law, ever the instinctive entrepreneur, started describing a business plan with franchising across the country, adding legal advice specific for each state. We talked about writing a do-it-yourself book for families who couldn’t afford to pay for a full service, interviewing a variety of families for their experience and advice. It was free market brainstorming at its best. It’s the Republican approach to filling a need with a market based emphasis, encouraging entrepreneurs to take a risk and try new approaches. Encouraging entrepreneurship is real economic stimulus.

From a Democrat point of view, the problem might be defined as lack of mandatory paid family leave for any and all family obligations, not enough free legal aid and counseling services, need for better public recycling programs, and a new agency to coordinate non-profit donations. It’s the Democrat approach to filling a need with a new government program, at the risk of suppressing entrepreneurship and innovation. Government solutions are not necessarily bad, but they do require money. Government’s only source of money is business, either directly through corporate and small business taxes or indirectly by taxing employee’s income. If entrepreneurs avoid creating jobs, if employees are laid off because a business can’t make a go of it in the face of regulatory overload, government kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. Creating government dependency instead of rewarding business creativity is a drag on the economy.

Our money collected by the government to repay loans from foreign banks does not stimulate our economy. The $800+ billion “stimulus package” was supported only by Democrats in the House is because it was designed from a Democrat point of view, with more emphasis on pork-barrel programs than healing our ailing infrastructure. Investment in infrastructure is investment in a healthy economic climate, freeing business to provide the goods and services people need. President Obama did the right thing when he consulted with Congressional Republicans, too bad he didn’t listen to their concerns. Republicans are finally turning back to their roots, emphasizing limited government, self-reliance and fiscal responsibility. I am proud to be positively Republican!