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5 Issues On Which Republicans Are Right – And Devastatingly Wrong

money-grabI’ve been called both a radical leftist liberal by conservatives and right-wing conservative in disguise by liberals.  But I also believe that if both the far-left and far-right disagree with you, then you’re probably doing something right.

I’ll be honest, I don’t think Republicans are wrong on everything.  In fact, I agree with them on some issues.  But the issues typically aren’t the problem.  It’s the asinine ways in which the GOP tries to “solve” these issues that makes for a huge problem.

So I thought I’d list 5 issues with which I actually agree with Republicans, but completely disagree with them on how to handle each.

1) Welfare abuse: Republicans are absolutely right when they say we need to curb welfare abuse and dependancy.  These programs are meant to help people who need them, not people who only want them.

Where Republicans are wrong:

All Republicans essentially want to do to “combat welfare abuse” is cut funding for these programs.  That does absolutely nothing to solve the problem of welfare abuse.  All that does is reduce benefits for people who do actually need them.  And, contrary to what most conservatives will tell you, most people on welfare aren’t abusing the system.

The best way to solve welfare abuse is to invest money into these programs.  Hire more employees so that we have better oversight to combat the abuse and create programs that actually help people find work.

Oh, and stop opposing a raise to the minimum wage.  It makes absolutely no sense to fight raising the minimum wage while complaining about how many people are on welfare.  Millions of people working full-time jobs still require government assistance to survive.  It never seems to dawn on these people that perhaps the reason why so many people rely on welfare is because the minimum wage hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation.

2) Our tax code does need to be simplified: Our tax code is ridiculous.  Even many tax professionals don’t really understand it.

Where Republicans are wrong: 

A flat tax, or across the board tax cuts, are overly simplified and foolish ways to try to “fix” our tax system.  And Republicans damn well know both proposals greatly benefit the rich at the detriment of everyone else.

We need to close all these loopholes big businesses and the rich use to avoid paying the taxes they’re supposed to pay.  It’s absurd that people, and corporations, are allowed to hide trillions of dollars overseas.

You realize what that does, right?  It puts the burden on all the rest of us who aren’t lucky enough to have the ability to hide our income in offshore accounts and tax havens.

We have millionaires paying a lower tax rate than school teachers.  It’s absurd.

If we want to give tax breaks, that’s fine – but give them for companies who invest here, not those that hide income overseas.  Your company increased its workforce by 15%?  Great, they get a tax break.  We shouldn’t be rewarding people, or businesses, who are willfully exploiting our tax system to avoid paying their taxes.

Close these loopholes so that a tax rate is actually the rate at which a business pays taxes instead of a hypothetical number that they’ll never pay because they claim their profits are earned entirely in another country.

3) Defense Spending: Despite what many liberals I’ve encountered seem to think, defense spending is very important.  Our military influence around the world does matter.

Where Republicans are wrong:  

The amount of money we spend on defense every year is absurd.  Our defense budget is so bloated with contracts to defense companies for crap that either we don’t need, or doesn’t even work, that calling it inept doesn’t even do it justice.  And if Republicans had their way, we’d be spending even more on defense.

I fully believe we need a strong and powerful military.  That being said, it’s ridiculous that we’re spending around $618 billion per year on defense.  We spend nearly 2 1/2 times what Russia and China spend on defensecombined.  

We can still spend plenty on defense, and keep our place as the most “kick ass military money can buy,” on $400 billion per year – which is still an absurd amount of money.  Imagine what we could do in this country with another $218 billion every year.

4) Immigration: I understand that we’re a country of immigrants and that’s a huge part of what’s made this country great.  That being said, we can’t take in and take care of everybody.  We already have millions of people in this country right now that we can’t properly feed or take care of.  Many of whom are children.  If someone wants to come here from other country, that’s great, come on over – but do so legally and have some sort of an income in place.

Where Republicans are wrong: 

Deporting over 12 million people just isn’t realistic.  And if you believe that it is, you’re an idiot.  Offering a path to citizenship for those who’ve been here, and meet a certain set of criteria, is the only humane and sensible solution.

It’s also ridiculous to say to an undocumented adult who was brought over here when they were around three years of age that they need to “go back to their country” when the only country that they’ve ever known is the United States.

We also need to improve the process for becoming an American citizen.  The reason why many people come here illegally is due in large part to some of the outrageous hurdles people have to jump through in order to become an American citizen.

Ironically, in an attempt to dissuade immigration (because let’s face it, that’s why many of these qualifications to become a citizen are so difficult), these people have actually encouraged illegal immigration.

We need to do two things simultaneously.  We need to discourage illegal immigration by tightening our border security.  Then we need to completely overhaul our process for becoming an American citizen so that it’s more encouraging for immigrants who want to come here to do so legally.  Because, right now, our absurd process for becoming an American citizen is a huge reason why so many are choosing to simply come here illegally.

5) Gun rights: No matter how anyone feels about guns, our Second Amendment gives us the right to own them.  People can argue about the semantics of the wording of our Second Amendment all they want, but it’s not going to change the fact that we have the right to own guns.  And the vast majority of gun owners are responsible gun owners.

Where Republicans get it wrong: 

Just because we have a right, doesn’t mean that right can’t come with restrictions.  The problem with our gun laws is that they’ve created the very problem guns rights activists claim guns are needed for – gun violence.  We’ve made it so easy to buy a gun, and ammunition, that any criminal that wants a gun can easily get a gun.

Which, as most logical people know, is exactly what the gun lobby wanted.  Because what better way for them to sell guns, than by doing everything they can to ensure criminals get them?  Then all they have to do is ratchet up fear among ordinary Americans that they now need guns to combat the criminals that they ensured would end up with guns.

It’s like a pest controller infesting houses with fleas and termites so that they can then sell the owners of those homes on their pest control services.

Laws that make it slightly more time consuming, or difficult, for citizens to legally purchase guns aren’t an “infringement on their right” to own a gun.  If someone is legally allowed to own a gun, they’ll still get the gun.  It might just take a little longer to do so.  And if someone is in so much fear for their life that they can’t wait a few days for a gun, then they either need to go to the police or seek professional help.

All Republicans have done is support laws that make it easier for criminals to get guns.  Because despite what most Republicans seem to believe,  it’s possible to be both pro-gun and pro-sensible gun regulation at the same time.

Do you agree or disagree?  Head on over to my Facebook page or my Twitter account and let me know what you think.


About Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is from the Dallas-Fort Worth area and has a degree in Political Science. He is a co-founder of Forward Progressives, and author of the popular Right Off A Cliff column. He is also the founder of the Right Off A Cliff facebook page, on which he routinely voices his opinions and stirs the pot for the Progressive movement. Follow Allen on Twitter as well, @Allen_Clifton.

  • Bruce Veasey

    Hey man, there’s no place in our polarized political landscape for compromise or common sense. ;)

  • Michelle

    I agree! Very well-stated. Thank you for this common sense approach. I just hope some Republicans (and Democrats) will try to understand what you’re saying and not immediately become defensive.

  • Daena

    Great article!

  • disqus_QvHfRDRcN9

    Fears of what Obama will do with guns has created more guns sales than any other event in history even though he has done nothing to restrict or curb gun ownership. Heck, the manufacturers should cut him a check when he exits!

    • Richard Desjardin

      He sure has tried though.

      Massive buyouts of ammunition to inflate the demand/price of ammunition.

      Several pushes for National Registries.

  • Eric Oppen

    One thing that would make illegal aliens “self-deport” would be to put penalties into the law for people who hire them—penalties with real teeth—and enforce them ruthlessly. As for shootings, why not try what worked for a long, long time, namely _locking up the paranoid schizophrenics?_ And the poor are often _kept_ poor by a combination of well-meant laws that make it more difficult and risky to hire someone (meaning that a more marginal candidate for employment has no chance) and more well-meant laws that make it all but impossible to go into business on one’s own hook.