Thoughtful discussion is needed

By From page A6 | July 03, 2014

Sunday’s column asserting the “GOP is just wrong on economics” is insulting to the intelligence of readers of any political persuasion.

With sweeping generalizations and pejorative characterizations of Republicans and the Republican Party, the writer lectures in absolutes and undercuts his own credibility. In doing so, he furthers an exquisite hypocrisy in suggesting it is the Republicans who are by and large the rejectionist, unthinking cabal.

In truth, the Republican Party and those who identify with it, present a broad spectrum of folks, who often contentiously disagree with each other. It includes libertarians, conservatives, moderates, social conservatives as well as social moderates, military/foreign policy hawks as well as isolationists, scientists, secularists and people of faith.

To paint them all as “anti-fact” is silly. You might disagree about what is factual or not, and debate the point, but to label the whole GOP as such is less than productive dialogue. Incidentally, economists come in all stripes, as do their statistics, all billed as “facts.”

What distinguishes Republicans from Democrats is a general philosophical approach to government and politics, and there is room for thoughtful and reasoned debate. Republicans generally favor more limited government, and no, that does not mean they all want to stop building highways and to push grandma over the cliff.

Republicans generally favor less command-and-control approaches and prefer market incentives, and no, that does not mean they want polluted water and toxic air.

Republicans generally favor lower taxes and incentives to save and invest capital into job creation and economic growth, and no, that does not mean they oppose all demand-side economics or oppose antitrust enforcement where it is needed.

We can all disagree on economic philosophies (and there are voluminous treatises and books doing so) and on economic policies (even if we agree on a goal, we can disagree on a means of getting there). What we should agree on is a thoughtful discussion. Once the broadcast starts ramping up the hype about radicals taking over, it just becomes noise.

Tom Gede

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