The purpose of the political process is to persuade people to entrust those who seek it with power. The first step in that persuasive process is developing a level of trust between the voter and those who seek political power. Most Americans, including most Californians, want to be left alone to pursue their own dreams, without government interference. They want to work hard, and keep what they earn, whether they own their own business, or work for someone else. If Republicans stand for liberty, they stand for reducing taxes, on everyone, all the time.
And they stand for reducing taxes, regardless, even if it reduces government revenue. If Republicans have a sin, it is the sin of advocating tax cuts because they “increase government revenue.” They do, that is proven by history time after time, but that is not the reason for tax cuts. Tax cuts are virtuous because allowing someone to pursue their own dreams, by allowing them to keep what they earn, is the key to a free society, it is the keystone of liberty.
In addition, I have never bought into the concept that reducing taxes on “corporations” is corporate welfare. Giving corporations subsidies, or protecting them by saving them from their mistakes (read TARP) is corporate welfare. Tax cuts are letting everyone, even corporations and the wealthy, keep more of what they earn.
Why, then, if people wish to keep more of what they earn, did the people of California vote in this last election, to increase taxes on the rich? Simple, they watched Republicans, time after time, vote to give government money to powerful companies with wealthy lobbyists. Increasing taxes on those who use their power and wealth to plunder the public treasury seems like a form of justice. The fact that Republicans went along with it only reinforced the canard that Republicans only care about the rich, and persuaded people that taxing the rich is not only permissible, but necessary to balance out the distribution of power in the state and in the country.
What is worse, some Republicans in California were persuaded to vote for an increase in the car tax in order to subsidize corporate regulatory relief. Of course people are going to react to that by saying “You want to tax me to help them? Well, I’ll show you, I’ll vote to tax them.”
I understand the argument of business interests. “We are never going to get the regulatory relief we need to keep jobs in California, this is the only way we can make it here, and keep the jobs so important to your constituents.” To them, it is a short term political fix. However, the only way they get the fix is by selling their souls to the lefties, who destroy liberty by taxing one group to subsidize another, and then sell out the ones they subsidize by appealing to the other group to increase the taxes of the subsidized group. Proposition 30 and the Car tax are classic example of pitting this wealthy against the middle class, and then stinging them both with new taxes, taking the liberty of both through calculated class warfare, and promises of political benefits. And Republicans helped them achieve their goal by not thinking about the key to obtaining voter trust–that is–standing for liberty.
Tax cuts cannot be bestowed on the more favored political groups (read Hollywood tax credits). They must be as broad based as possible. That also doesn’t mean that Republicans should advocate for increasing taxes on anyone for any reason, whether those tax increases are generated by “closing corporate loopholes” or a sales tax increase for transportation or public safety. No tax increases on anyone for any reason. Tax cuts for everyone, all the time.
Standing against socialism by reducing the size of government, no matter how good the government programs sounds (read more money for schools or transportation or cops, or government subsidies of college education), standing for liberty by cutting taxes on everyone, all the time. The message has to be clear to pierce through the media cacophony of support for big government, and if Republicans waiver on the message, it is very certain that the media will point out the hypocrisy.
All it takes for Democrats to win is that the voter think that Republicans are just like Democrats. Given the choice between a group that helps unions and one that helps corporations, they will choose the unions every time. Voters are cynical about unions and about corporations, they just know that they are more likely to get some goodie if the unions are helped than if corporations are helped. Once Republicans start giving out goodies, they are going to lose, every time. Once they start standing for liberty, they will begin to regain the voters trust, and start to win again.