(And Why You Should Join Me!)

I cast my first vote for Ronald Reagan back in 1980 — and was a committed Republican for the next 35 years.

In all that time, I didn’t cast a single vote for a Democrat.

In the spring of 2016, I decided to get really serious about finding the answers to a question that had been bothering me for years…

“What’s wrong with America — and how do we fix it?”

I spent the next five and a half years digging deeply into every issue we face — and listening to and thinking through arguments on every side.

I did so in as fair, balanced, and non-partisan way as I possibly could.

But by the end of the process, I realized that I personally could no longer give my support to the Republican Party that had been my political home for my entire adult life.

Here’s why.

Republican Politicians Have No Proposals to Address Our Three Great Problems.

Elsewhere on this site, I talk about our three great problems — the ones that are actually affecting your life, massively, right now.

They are:

  1. The economy is now so warped from what was the American Dream that today, just three guys have as much wealth as 12,475,000 typical, middle-class Americans.[1]Calculated based on a median US household net worth of $125,000, an average household size of 2.6, and the reported net worth of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, as of 4/7/2021.

    This was not the case during the American Dream era. We had people who were astonishingly rich. But nothing remotely like this.

    And the problem is not that these people have such vast mountains of wealth. The problem is that they have obtained those vast mountains of wealth mostly at the expense of everyone else. At your expense — and mine.

    If your family is bringing in anything under $130,000 a year or so, the warped economy is likely costing you at least $24,000 a year. Every single year.

    Over the past 40 years, some of those at the very top have quietly but systematically drained away an estimated $40,000,000,000,000 from America’s middle class and working class — as compared to where we would be if we had fully continued the American Dream Economy.

    This has cost the typical family around $480,000 so far. The bloodletting is ongoing, and the price tag is only going up over time.[2]Detailed sources, calculations, and discussion can be found in the “How We Fix America” course. See: HowWeFixAmerica.com.

    I regard this as a major national emergency. It’s certainly an emergency for many American families, who are just scraping by when they ought to be prospering, in an economy that routinely produces twice as much wealth — per person — as it did a generation or so ago.

  2. Our political system is massively rigged. While some of our Representatives and Senators are undoubtedly doing their best to serve and represent the People, they’re being outnumbered and outvoted by those who put special interests first.

    To put it another way: Corruption is legal in America — and it’s costing us very dearly.

    It’s been shown that Congress cares far more about what donors want than what the American People want or need.[3]This was shown, for example, in a Princeton study that looked at 20 years of what the People wanted, and what Congress actually did. See: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest … Continue reading

    We must restore government that serves the best interest of the People. And the only way to do this is through comprehensive, thorough, anti-corruption reform.[4]Along with measures that increase the influence of ordinary Americans. Since politicians listen to donors, one of the best ways we can empower ordinary Americans is to give all voters a credit they … Continue reading

    This problem is the source of both the warped economy and our failure to solve many other problems as well.

    If we restore government that serves the best interest of the People, then we can effectively address other major issues like health care, preserving our environment, and investing for the future so that America really continues to lead the world in areas like science and technology.

  3. We don’t have a clear, shared vision of the magnificent American future that can be ours — if only we will insist on bringing back government that serves the best interest of the People, and returning to American Dream Capitalism.

    And one of the reasons for that is because politicians and media people (including many on the internet and talk radio) find it very profitable to mislead us into focusing on things that don’t really matter, aren’t actually true, or both. Often, such public voices are being sponsored by the same elites who are controlling our political system and rigging the economy in their favor.

    And many of them are being paid off with huge sums of money, in return for distracting us while the looting goes on.

These are the three issues that are affecting us — by far — more than anything else.

Now, here’s the problem: But Although neither party has a perfect record, it’s the Republican Party that is doing nothing at all to address these problems, and in too many instances, is wholly dedicated to perpetuating them.

Yes, Republicans have led the way in rigging our economy — and in resisting anti-corruption reform.

I wish this were not the case. But unfortunately, it is.

As just one example, Republicans’ contributions to rigging the economy can be seen in their unrelenting efforts (often successful) to keep cutting taxes… for those at the very top.

Take the 2017 “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” for example.

If you happened to be mega-billionaires Charles and David Koch, you got over a thousand million dollars a year… every year… from that Republican-led “tax cut.” Permanently.

But I’m guessing that you’re not getting a thousand millions of dollars from it, like they are.

Now there were easy and obvious ways to pass a tax cut for the middle class.

Trump and the Republicans chose not to do that. They chose to pass a tax cut that targeted mega-millionaires, billionaires, and mega-billionaires.

Meanwhile, the jury is in on the effects of such tax cuts.

A study of fifty years of “trickle-down” tax cuts not just here, but across other every other rich country that has implemented them — 18 in all — shows that their only real effect of tax cuts for the rich is to make those at the very top richer.[5]See: The Economic Consequences of Major Tax Cuts for the Rich

And since these tax cuts have to be paid for from somewhere — guess who ends up paying for making the billionaires mega-billionaires?

You and I do.

As a middle-of-the-road tax analyst (who previously helped advise Republican President George H. W. Bush) wrote in 2018, “Tax cuts are not free. They eventually have to be financed with higher taxes or lower spending. And once those financing requirements are taken into account, most low- and middle-income households are likely to be worse off than they would have been without the tax cut in the first place.”[6]“Once the tax bill is paid for, low- and middle-income households will be worse off,” William Gale, Brookings Institution, January 2, 2018, … Continue reading

Unfortunately, Republicans are also leading the way in resisting anti-corruption reform.

Over the past few years, my wife and I have attended a couple of national conferences on unrigging our corrupt politics.

These have been made as non-partisan as humanly possible. The organizers try hard to attract both major parties. And yes, they are attended by Republicans as well as Democrats.

But so far, Republican attendance has simply not been what you would hope it would be.

In our own state of Missouri, voters passed a law — called “Clean Missouri” — to make “politics for sale” harder.

I’m sorry to tell you that our Republican-led legislature has done everything possible to block and gut it.

This is why I can no longer be a Republican — and it’s why you too should follow me right out the door, and never look back.

I can’t stress to you strongly enough how high the stakes are here.

“But what about socialism?!?”

If you’re currently a Republican, I know that you will have some immediate objections. I know, because I had the very same concerns you have. And I also understand that they’re not easy to work through. Honestly, it took me some time to do so.

And do you know why it took me a while?

It was because I had tuned in to the same voices you’ve tuned in to, for years. Like you, I listened to one side, and not the other.

And those voices had trained me to think in a particular way. They had trained me to believe that becoming a Democrat was literally… unthinkable.

So let’s look very briefly at the major objections. We’ll start with “socialism.”

People use this word to mean two very different things.

Often, they mean Marxist socialism. And the idea here is that if we allow Democrats to run the country, they’re going to destroy it with Marxism and impoverish everyone — just as happened with the economic collapse of the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries.

But the reality is far different.

Here’s the plain, bald, and (perhaps shocking) truth: For about a hundred years, Americans — and America — have prospered much more under Democratic administrations than under Republican ones.

Read that sentence again, and let it soak in. Because it is absolutely true.

And this goes all the way back at least to Herbert Hoover’s administration, which started in March of 1929.[7]Even if we go back through Woodrow Wilson, who took office in 1913, it doesn’t really look that much better. It is easily shown in employment, economic growth, incomes, stock prices — pretty much every economic indicator.[8]See: Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?

We can see this more recently by looking at job creation for the past 45 years. (In picking where to start, I wanted to include the lifetime of most Americans. I certainly wanted to include the Reagan years, which were both Republican and prosperous. I included the Carter years because they were less prosperous, and they gave 21 years of Democrats to compare with 24 years of Republicans.)

75% of the jobs created in America over the past 45 years have been created under Democratic Presidents.[9]See this Facebook post for a bit more discussion.

And as far as the political reality is concerned as well, the story itself is simply a false one. There’s not a single significant political figure, in either party, who wants to implement Communism or any kind of “socialism” that would turn the United States into anything remotely resembling the Soviet Union.

And yes, that includes Bernie Sanders.

Sanders’ vision is that we might be more like Norway, Sweden, and Denmark — all of which have booming capitalist economies.

The only real difference is that they have more social programs that take better care of middle-class and working-class citizens — which is the second thing that people mean by “socialism.”

And the fear here — which is deliberately cultivated by politicians and people on the internet and talk radio — is that social programs will “bankrupt” us.

But they won’t. Social Security hasn’t bankrupted us. Neither have Medicare or Medicaid.

The reality is: We’re the richest country on earth, and we’re producing twice as much wealth, per person, as we were a generation ago.

If every other developed country on earth can afford decent health care for every citizen, then we certainly can, too. And without putting the burden on America’s middle class![10]In reality, we don’t even need to spend more. We could almost certainly spend less, because we currently spend twice as much for our health care as the people of any other country on earth.

Instead, we’ve poured the money we should be spending on providing opportunity for all, and on taking care of all citizens, into making sure that the richest guy today doesn’t have around $9 billion (as you might expect from our increase in wealth production).

Instead, he has $230 billion.

In the end, all of the fearmongering about “socialism” is just that.

Our choice isn’t between “capitalism” and “socialism.”

It’s between American Dream Capitalism and the warped economy we have now.

And the elites who want to keep their personal 100-car-an-hour gravy trains rolling — at our expense — don’t want us to understand what our real choices actually are.

Because as long as they make us fear the fictional “socialism,” they can keep American Dream Capitalism safely in the dustbin of past American history.

“But what about abortion?!?”

This was a roadblock for me, too — until I spent two entire years studying our abortion issue…

And in the process, I realized that trying to legally prohibit abortion is pretty much the worst approach available to trying to “getting rid of” it.

Prohibition was an utter and absolute failure with alcohol.

And yet we imagine it’s going to work with abortion.

It won’t.

And there are several reasons why it won’t work.

First, it’s never worked before — either here in the United States, or in other countries that have tried it.

In fact, our abortion rate back when it was broadly illegal appears to have been much higher than it is now![11]The best estimate seems to be that our abortion rate back when abortion was broadly illegal was usually about twice what it is today. See the discussion in the “How We Fix America” … Continue reading

And the same story is repeated again and again in other countries where abortion is banned.

Secondly, it won’t work because women who decide to get an abortion have really compelling reasons to do so.

The Prohibition of Alcohol failed just because people wanted to go out and have a few drinks. Just because people wanted some recreation.

But women have a far more compelling reason to get an abortion.

No woman gets an abortion for “recreational” purposes.

Most of the time, she gets one because she is convinced that her life — at some level — is over if she’s going to have to bear a child.

This may be because she sees her education and career about to vanish before her eyes. It may be because she can’t afford to have a child, and sees herself living in poverty — possibly for the rest of her life.

It may be that she looks at the absolutely massive commitment that being a parent involves, and says, “I’m not ready for this.”

And sometimes, she gets an abortion because she believes that it would be unutterably cruel to bring a child into her situation.

Whatever the reason, in pretty much every single case, it’s far more compelling than the reasons that caused Prohibition to be an absolute disaster.

Third, it won’t work because technology and communications have advanced so much that right now, any woman in America can order the pills that will bring about an abortion, over the internet, for about $100.

And it doesn’t matter whether you live some place where abortion is illegal. They will still arrive in a plain, discreet little package.

Only Democrats Are Pushing the Strategies that Effectively Reduce Abortion.

The best reduction Republicans could ever hope for as a result of legal prohibition of abortion would be around 10%.[12]For detailed calculations, see the discussion in “How We Fix America,” including the endnotes.

But it’s entirely possible for us to reduce abortion by at least 50% — by non-coercive means.

How do I know? I know because there are whole other countries where the abortion rate is as low as half of the rate here in the United States.

And not one of those countries tries to legally prohibit abortion.

On the contrary, these are places where abortion isn’t just freely available — for the most part, it’s actually free of charge!

And yet, the abortion rate is much lower than it is here. And it’s far lower than a “prohibition” strategy could ever take it.

The only major party that’s actually attacking the root causes of unplanned pregnancies is the Democratic one.

So if you’re really “pro-life” — if you want to “save the lives of the unborn” —

In spite of what you may have had pounded into your head, the Democratic Party is your best bet.[13]For some more commentary on this topic, see an article I wrote back in 2020. Also, the How We Fix America course contains a longer discussion.

“But I’m afraid I’m going to lose my freedom and my country!!”

As a Republican, I was afraid of the same things.

That was before I looked at the track record of past administrations, and saw there was nothing to fear.

We haven’t lost our freedoms under any Democratic administration.

On the contrary, our freedoms have often expanded.

Too often, we forget that liberty also includes the freedoms that opportunity and things like better health care have to offer us.

A few years ago, a woman told me how she works as hard as she can every month just to come up with enough money to afford insulin — all so that she can live long enough to do it again.[14]Thanks to the power of special interests, we pay TEN TIMES for our insulin what the people of other countries pay for the same product.

That’s not freedom.

And it’s Democrats, not Republicans, who are working to restore American Dream Capitalism — along with the economic and life liberty that such a restoration will bring.

By the way, as I write this, the US House just passed a bill to cap the monthly cost of insulin at $35. This would still allow pharmaceutical companies to make a reasonable profit.

Every Democrat (along with 12 Republicans) voted in favor.

193 Republicans voted against the bill.

As for our basic Constitutional rights — such as the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms — the Supreme Court has affirmed such rights again and again.

And I affirm and support such Constitutional rights, too.

But we need not live in a panic about losing such rights. There simply isn’t the political will to “take your guns away.”

It’s taken us 22 years since the horrific mass murder at Columbine High School, and an uncountable number of mass shootings even to pass the very modest reforms put in place recently after the brutal mass shooting Uvalde, Texas.

So compare such fears to the real cost you have right now, from our warped and rigged economy.

We haven’t exhausted the list of fears that are being peddled by Republican politicians, so that you will look to them to “save” you.

But the next time a Republican politician tells you that you should be greatly afraid of illegal immigrants, or “socialism,” or whatever it is, you should compare how much that feared thing is really impacting your life — compared to the major issues I’ve pointed out on this website.

And I invite you to join me in rejecting such manipulation.

It’s time for us to move forward — in faith, not in fear.

It’s faith and problem-solving — not fear — that’s the key to our future.

References

References
1 Calculated based on a median US household net worth of $125,000, an average household size of 2.6, and the reported net worth of Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Bill Gates, as of 4/7/2021.
2 Detailed sources, calculations, and discussion can be found in the “How We Fix America” course. See: HowWeFixAmerica.com.
3 This was shown, for example, in a Princeton study that looked at 20 years of what the People wanted, and what Congress actually did. See: Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. It was also shown in a 2015 study that says that politicians agree with their donors far more than with anyone else. Constituents in general? Pretty much irrelevant. See: The Rich Own Our Democracy, New Evidence Suggests.
4 Along with measures that increase the influence of ordinary Americans. Since politicians listen to donors, one of the best ways we can empower ordinary Americans is to give all voters a credit they can use to donate to the political candidate of their choice.
5 See: The Economic Consequences of Major Tax Cuts for the Rich
6 “Once the tax bill is paid for, low- and middle-income households will be worse off,” William Gale, Brookings Institution, January 2, 2018, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2018/01/02/once-the-tax-bill-is-paid-for-low-and-middle-income-households-will-be-worse-off/
7 Even if we go back through Woodrow Wilson, who took office in 1913, it doesn’t really look that much better.
8 See: Why Are Republican Presidents So Bad for the Economy?
9 See this Facebook post for a bit more discussion.
10 In reality, we don’t even need to spend more. We could almost certainly spend less, because we currently spend twice as much for our health care as the people of any other country on earth.
11 The best estimate seems to be that our abortion rate back when abortion was broadly illegal was usually about twice what it is today. See the discussion in the “How We Fix America” course, including the endnotes, for details
12 For detailed calculations, see the discussion in “How We Fix America,” including the endnotes.
13 For some more commentary on this topic, see an article I wrote back in 2020. Also, the How We Fix America course contains a longer discussion.
14 Thanks to the power of special interests, we pay TEN TIMES for our insulin what the people of other countries pay for the same product.