If there has been one true line for the Republican Party since its inception, it has been standing up for individual liberty.
Meanwhile, arguably, a true line for the Democratic Party has been a willingness to use the levers of government to control the American people’s daily lives.
The same contrast is playing out in present times in relation to COVID-19 policies.
The Republican Party was founded in the 1850s to halt the growth of slavery into the territories.
Ultimately, the GOP and its first president, Abraham Lincoln, oversaw slavery’s demise in the entire United States.
Opposing them at every step of the way were Democratic politicians in Congress and in state governments.
It was the nation’s second Republican president, Ulysses S. Grant, who sent federal troops into the south to protect the freedom of African-Americans and championed passage of the 15th Amendment securing their right to vote.
In contrast, it was Democratic lawmakers who passed Jim Crow and segregation laws that made black Americans second-class citizens.
In more recent times, Democratic tyranny has taken the form of big government programs and the high tax rates that accompany them.
Democratic President Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society” of the 1960s led to the economic stagnation and overall malaise of the 1970s.
President Jimmy Carter perfectly encapsulated where the American public stood under the weight of big government programs and high taxes in his “Crisis of Confidence” speech in July 1979.
“The symptoms of this crisis of the American spirit are all around us. For the first time in the history of our country, a majority of our people believe that the next five years will be worse than the past five years,” he said.
“The productivity of American workers is actually dropping, and the willingness of Americans to save for the future has fallen below that of all other people in the Western world,” Carter added.
Now why would this be? It was because the federal government was taxing and regulating the life out of the American economy.
The top marginal individual tax rate when Carter left office at the beginning of the 1980s was 70 percent.
Why in the world would people want to invest their money and grow their businesses when the government was going to take $7 of every $10 they earned?
Meanwhile, the top corporate rate was 48 percent. The same reasoning applies: Businesses should not be forced to return nearly half of their profits to the government. That is not how the free enterprise system is supposed to work.
It is tyranny!
Enter former California Gov. Ronald Reagan, who launched the Reagan revolution that completely transformed the American economy and country.
In announcing his candidacy in late 1979, Reagan said, “I cannot and will not stand by and see this great country destroy itself.”
“Our leaders attempt to blame their failures on circumstances beyond their control, on false estimates by unknown, unidentifiable experts who rewrite modern history in an attempt to convince us our high standard of living, the result of thrift and hard work, is somehow selfish extravagance which we must renounce as we join in sharing scarcity,” he continued.
Reagan promised to cut taxes and regulations to get the American economy moving again.
In his inaugural address in January 1981, he pronounced, “It is time to reawaken this industrial giant, to get government back within its means, and to lighten our punitive tax burden. And these will be our first priorities, and on these principles, there will be no compromise.”
The policies worked like a charm, with the American economy experiencing its greatest expansion since World War II and creating 18 million jobs.
Reagan warned when he was running for re-election in 1984 what the Democrats would do if they ever took back the levers of power in Washington, and it is, in fact, what current President Joe Biden and the Democrats are trying to do.
“Is there any doubt that they will raise our taxes?” he asked, to which the crowd at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, yelled, “No!”
Reagan continued with a series of questions that elicited the same response.
“That they will send inflation into orbit again?” he said. “That they will make government bigger than ever? And deficits even worse? … Cut back our defense preparedness? Raise interest rates? Make unilateral and unwise concessions to the Soviet Union? And they’ll do all that in the name of compassion.
“It’s what they’ve done to America in the past. But if we do our job right, they won’t be able to do it again.”
Build Back Better and the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, passed earlier this year, represent the very policies Reagan identified as destructive to the American economy.
Add on top of that the COVID vaccine employer mandates and restrictions Biden and Democratic politicians have put in place, and taken together they equal tyranny.
But, thankfully, Republican leaders are standing up for liberty and opportunity.
It was GOP attorney generals in 10 states who successfully sued to stop the implementation of Biden’s employer vaccine mandate.
The 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates are Republican-led.
Correspondingly, nine of the 10 states with the highest unemployment rates have Democratic governors, with New York and California among them.
The reason is clear: Republican governors such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis and South Dakota’s Kristi Noem resisted the harsh and extended lockdowns and vaccine mandates their Democratic counterparts imposed.
What was true when the Republican Party began remains true today.
The GOP stands for liberty, and the Democratic Party is all about government control.
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