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Please help me understand

Published August 20. 2011 09:03AM

Dear Editor:

I need help in understanding something. I don't understand the thinking of the Republican Party if it is truly interested in doing what is best for our country. Under President Bush and Vice President Cheney the Party spent us into an unprecedented debt crisis, using the money to fight two wars that turned out to be the result of miscalculations at best, lies at worst. Concerning the mounting cost, we were told simply not to worry about it.

When President Obama took over, however, due largely to the debt piled up, his first challenge was to save our country from sinking into a severe depression. He met it by using tax money to stimulate the economy, mounting projects to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, creating thousands of jobs based on an understanding that middle class consumers, not the wealthy, are the backbone of a healthy economy.

In order to create these jobs, President Obama had to increase our nation's debt again. And how did the Republicans react? Instead of pitching in, they began arguing that reducing the debt, most of which was of their making, had to be our major priority. Forget the jobs, forget the middle class, and, by the way, forget any tax increases. Rather, there should be further tax reductions.

The logic behind their tax strategy was "trickle down" economic theory. Let the wealthy make as much as they can. The money will then "trickle down." Our nation's greatest experiment with "trickle down economics" occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s no taxes, no real government regulation. As a result of this freedom a group of some twenty "Robber Barons" famous for their ruthlessness gained total control of our economy. During that period we had up to thirty percent unemployment; we had a major recession or a depression every ten years.

The question, then, must be, "If we can't raise taxes, where should the money needed to reduce our deficit come from?" Again, the Republican Party's answer is easy. Cut government programs that serve the poor, but mainly the middle class. Real simple.

The main role of a democratic government has traditionally been to facilitate the ability of its citizens to develop their positive potential so that they can use that potential to support the government, the economy, and society in general. When the government presides over a free-enterprise economic sector, it allows that usually more efficient sector to provide as many of the required services as possible. When the free enterprise sector cannot, however, or does not want to effectively provide a required service, the government steps in and does so.

The problem with this approach, of course, is that the free enterprise sector wants to make as much money as possible, sometimes at the expense of the service being delivered. An example of this result is our health care system. Driven largely by for-profit organizations, it costs twice as much per person as any other in the world, being ranked 38th by the World Health Organization due largely to the greed of some of the players.

So, on the one side, we have the Democrats who want government to play its traditional role in a democracy, facilitating efforts of all citizens to develop their potential. On the other side we have the "me-I" Republicans who want to revert to an "every-man-for-himself" mentality, who want to shrink government, who are against taxes, who obviously prefer a plutocracy rule by the rich and the powerful to a democracy.

What, therefore, I need help understanding is how, in a world where democracy is the ideal toward which a growing number of nations are moving, sometime battling their way, the Republican Party, with its growing focus on winning at all costs, has deluded itself into believing that our founding fathers - Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, Lincoln and other - were wrong, that rule by the self-centered few whose main interest seems to be making more money than anybody else and not to give any of it back is superior to rule "of the people, by the people, for the people."

I need somebody to explain that to me.

William Roth

Bear Creek Lakes

Jim Thorpe

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