From Forbes by John T. Harvey
. . . I am so distressed by the 2012 platform released by the Texas Republican Party that I find it impossible not to comment. While I am hardly in agreement with everything forwarded by the Democrats (and have taken aim at President Obama on a number of occasions, especially with respect to his desire to balance the federal budget), it is difficult to believe that what the Republicans put together during their convention in Fort Worth was even written in the 21st century. It is anything but pragmatic.
The GOP Platform (available here) has already made headlines with the portion that opposes the “teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills” and “critical thinking skills.” Although a partial retraction followed, this was in terms of the wording, not the general meaning.
It appears that their fear is that these “focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”
. . . Another disturbing feature of the document is that while they “urge the Legislature to direct expenditures to academics as the first priority,” they also contend that “Since data is (sic) clear that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels of education institutions.”
Not only is the second statement inconsistent with the first (not to mention rather frightening), it isn’t true. The implications of the data are far from clear. In point of fact, economists have found that–not surprisingly–it matters how the money is spent (see here for a survey of the relevant literature). For example, reducing class sizes and adding remedial help appear to be particularly cost effective. Thus, contrary to the Texas GOP’s assertion, there are programs that both add to costs AND increase educational achievement.
- We urge state and federal legislators to reduce spending.
- We urge Congress to adopt balanced budgets by cutting spending and not increasing tax rates.
- We recommend repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, with the goal of abolishing the I.R.S and replacing it with a national sales tax collected by the States. In the interim we urge the income tax be changed to a flatter, broader, lower tax with only minimal exemptions such as home mortgage interest deductions.
- We favor abolishing the capital gains tax.
- State Tax Reform – We encourage: Abolishing property taxes…Shifting the tax burden to a consumption-based tax
The first two would directly reduce the demand for goods and services, thus causing contraction and unemployment, while the last three would create a much more regressive tax system that shifted the burden onto the sector of the economy that would otherwise generate the highest level of demand per dollar of income: the poor and middle class (the top 20% of Americans spend 62% of their income, as compared to 87% for the rest).
. . . Note, too, that the second point above (regarding balanced budgets) is based on a false premise, i.e., that the federal government is budget constrained (see The Big Danger in Cutting the Deficit). ...The Texas Republican Party Platform also argues that, in contradiction to my last blog post (The Real Job Creators: Consumers), lower business taxes and deregulation will solve our jobs problem. This is false. What we really need is increased demand, which comes via consumers.
. . . This is not to say that there are not portions of the Texas Republican Party Platform that are perfectly reasonable. There are. But, by and large, it reads as if it were written in another age and in ignorance of the social, economic, and scientific evidence of the past half century. Let there be no mistake about it: the Texas Republican Party Platform is terrifying. Were its recommendations implemented, the US would resemble a third-world country with a cheap, uneducated workforce and a massive gap between rich and poor. Unemployment would be rampant, growth stagnant, and answers few and far between thanks to the systematic repression of higher order and critical thinking.
Read the full story @ Forbes.Read the Texas Democratic platform and its comparison to the Republican platform after the "more" jump: