The American Prospect magazine states
that the big overriding issue that represents what Democrats stand for and what they should fight for is the common-interest. Yes, indeed, the common-interest represents the Democratic Party just as neatly as self-interest represents the Republican Party.
Self-interest is the essence of the Republican Party and Republicans make no bones about it. They push laissez faire because they think self-interest is good for America. They advocate self-reliance: take care of yourself and don't expect help from anyone else. They take care of those who have made it, the rich and successful, since these are the guys from whom they get the money to stay in power.
Republicans in the House and Senate have shown that their party is the party of self-interest by the legislation they passed. Here are 4 major bills passed:
- TAX CUTS - The vast majority of the benefit of the tax cuts went to the richest 1%. The rest of us saw a reduction in services and a ballooning of the deficit for which we will pay later
- BANKRUPTCY BILL - Here the Republicans socked the consumer by making it tougher for those who are not credit-worthy, even those suffering from a catastrophe. Bankruptcy rules for businesses are more lenient
- ENERGY LEGISLATION - This is an $88 billion bill where big oil, gas and coal companies got billions of dollars in subsidies and hundreds of millions of dollars in loan gurantees. The consumer got almost nothing
- MEDICARE DRUGS - Originally estimated to cost $400 billion and now at about $800 billion, this is a giveaway to pharmaceutical and insurance companies. It's hard to believe that it specifically does not allow the government to negotiate cheaper prices for drugs!
Contrast the above 4 Republican bills that concentrate on self-interest with 4 bills Democrats would like to see enacted that enhance the common-interest:
- MINIMUM WAGE - A decent wage for the poorest will have the effect of improving the welfare of all workers, who represent a majority of the population. Business will benefit too, since it will be faced with greater demand
- UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE - We need a new system that takes care of the 45 million uninsured and improves healthcare for all of us. A universal system would improve living conditions and make our society more harmonious
- ENERGY INDEPENDENCE - Our entire foreign policy is distorted because we depend on oil from rogue nations. Also fossil fuels are making our environment sick. Development of sustainable energy sources will allow us to grow more prosperous and more healthy and happy
- CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM - By removing money as the biggest influence in election campaigns, we will reduce corruption, improve our democracy and make our entire society more civil
You will notice that there is a big difference between Republican and Democratic initiatives. Republicans design their initiatives so that some people (their friends) win. Democrats, however, design their initiatives, for the most part, in a way that makes most people win.
It may all be summarized by saying that Republicans fight for self-interest and Democrats fight for the common-interest.