Unlike cream, Democrats don't rise to the top

November 03, 2003|by Donald Currier

In almost all human endeavors there is a hierarchy of excellence starting at the top with one, or a very few, of the very best-performing individuals. Below that level are the several "almost there" and below that the many "also rans." At the bottom of the hierarchy are the many many "wantabes" who would like to but cannot or will not compete with those above them.

This range of performance in every field can be thought of as the triangle of life. It applies to all phases of human performance. Think of the superstar athletes, the Nobel Prize winners in the fields of science, art and literature. We all know about the male and female stars of Hollywood and the theater. And it certainly applies to those super successful business leaders who are paid fabulous salaries and accumulate great wealth by establishing and leading great companies.

The important thing about the triangle of life is the fact that at each and every level there are many more individuals at each lower level. This makes for a broad base and a narrowing rise to the apex, hence the triangular shape. This applies in particular to economic status. Which brings us to the difference between Republicans and Democrats.


Democrats know all about the triangle of life and they know where the most votes are - in the lower levels of the triangle where these voters have the "give me more" syndrome. Democrats talk always of the "common man" and they promise these voters more and more to get elected.

Their promises are of two kinds - we'll give you more benefits and we'll get it for you by taking it from those above you in the triangle in the form of taxation. The assumption is that somehow economic success is inherently "not fair" to those at the bottom of the economic heap.

Fortunately we live under a representative form of government here in the United States. This means that the people vote for persons to represent them in the various legislative bodies from county commissioners to delegates to congressmen. But in every case these elected representatives must represent the interests of the entire hierarchy of people in their districts not just the "common man." As a result they modify the demands of the "give me more" people to provide balanced representation of the entire group.

Republicans reflect this sort of thinking and thus have a broader view of the needs of the entire triangle of life. They simply don't believe in "soaking the rich" just because they are rich. And they don't believe in flattening the levels of the triangle just to make the lower levels feel better.

The Republicans are no less compassionate than the Democrats for those needs of the "common man" but they don't see redistribution of incomes and wealth as the way to do it. They believe in offering the lower economic rung a chance to move up the ladder and to strive for the top by policies that promote economic growth and opportunity.

They believe that the greatest incentive of all is the unequal distribution of wealth where one can go as far as he can and earn as much as he can with the assurance that no one in government is going to take away from him what he fairly earned to give to someone else without his consent.

If you are at any level in the economic triangle above the bottom "give me more" level why would you ever consider being a member of the Democratic Party? There is only one reason - you are ashamed of your success and want to give something back to those less gifted or less fortunate than you are.

Then why don't these Democrats do it by just writing a check to the treasury at the place where they pay taxes? Or give it to worthy causes of their choice like Bill Gates and many others do? Unfortunately this is not the Democratic Party philosophy. They prefer government intervention by writing tax laws that redistribute income and wealth and thus flatten the triangle. This is supposed to provide equality of outcome but is this really what you want your government to do for you?

Donald Currier is a Smithsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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