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About Paul R. Hollrah
Paul R. Hollrah is a freelance writer. He is a member of the Civil Engineering Academy of Distinguished Alumni at the University of Missouri - Columbia and a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Heritage Institute. He currently resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
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Toughen Up, Republicans
Paul R. Hollrah
October 4, 2011
Republicans are, generally speaking, wonderful people. But what I dislike most about them is their inability to address the most critical issues of our time in such a way that the “average man” can know and make sense of the same way that Governor Chris Christie is able to get his point across to all those liberals and Democrats in New Jersey. Of course, this is nothing new for Republicans; it’s something I’ve known about them since the day I first realized that I was a Republican, and that...ethically, morally, and ideologically...I could never be a Democrat.

For example, in the wake of the US Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, it was immediately evident to almost everyone that African Americans would be a decisive factor in American politics for generations to come. As the “separate but equal” concept in public education was abandoned it was only a matter of time before our neighborhoods, our workplaces, our shops, restaurants, and other public facilities would be desegregated, as well.

Republicans may have assumed, and rightly so, that since the Republican Party was born out of opposition to slavery; that a Republican president fought a bloody civil war, in part, over the slavery issue; that it was Republicans who wrote and passed the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution, outlawing slavery and giving blacks citizenship and the right to vote; that blacks would have felt a degree of loyalty to those who had fought and died for their freedom.

Republicans may also have assumed that black Americans would know that it was Democrats who had fought and died to maintain the institution of human slavery; that it was Democrats who created the KKK, a paramilitary auxiliary that murdered and maimed thousands of black and white Republicans; and that it was Democrats who had devoted an entire century to denying them access to the American Dream...after they had cast off the bonds of slavery.

If they assumed all of those things they were dead wrong. After being the black man’s worst enemies for more than a century, Democrats quickly developed a broad array of social welfare programs designed to keep blacks happy and content and out of the competition for jobs held by whites in the industrial plants and the construction trades. As Republicans stood idly by (sucking their thumbs?), blacks were led, en masse, into the Democratic Party where they were promised an endless assortment of “free lunches,” and where they were “brainwashed” into Herman Cain suggests...that Democrats were their friends and their saviors.

Republicans had a far better story to tell, and it was a fairly simple message. They needed to get the message across to blacks that, in a free market economy, there are no “free lunches.” In order to share in the American Dream, black children must get out of bed each morning and get to school on time...every day. It was important that they pay attention in the classroom, behave themselves, and always have their homework done on time. And when it was time for them to enter the workforce, it was important that they be at work on time, every day, and that they give their employer eight hours of their best effort in exchange for eight hours pay.

Instead, for more than fifty years, as Democrats squandered trillions of taxpayer dollars in their cynical effort to buy the black vote and keep it bought, Republicans assumed that the battle for the hearts and minds of black people was a lost cause. They assumed that the American people were totally sanguine with the notion that, as Democrats spent trillions of taxpayer dollars tying up the black vote, they were actually trying to improve the lives of black people. Nothing could have been further from the truth, yet they sat silently by, saying nothing.

And now, as the nation rushes headlong toward economic oblivion, a lot of things that need to be that the economically illiterate can grasp what is happening...are not being said. As Barack Obama met with congressional leaders, trying to find a way to extend the national debt limit while reducing the size of the federal government, growing the economy, and creating jobs in the process, Democrats insisted, every day, that we must load a heavier burden of taxation on the wealthiest Americans. They believe government knows better how to spend our hard-earned money than we do.

So what did Republicans say? They gave us the Milton Friedman Chicago School of Economics argument that the worst thing we could possibly do in the midst of a major economic recession is to raise anyone’s taxes. That’s it. That’s all they said. They assumed that all the public-school-educated Kool-Ade drinkers out there actually understood how a free market economy works.

What they should be asking the people is this: “Would you rather have a rich man keep his dollar in a bank account so that it can be loaned out to someone who wants to buy a new car, build a new house, or start or expand a business...all of which create jobs and wealth for others? Or would you rather have that dollar taken away at the point of a gun so that some lame-brained senator can use it to help fund a Cowboy Poetry Festival in northern Nevada, or give it to some pinheaded college professor who wants to find out how much “green” energy can be generated by shrimp shackled to tiny treadmills?

Democrats have insisted over the past two years that all we had to do to get our economy moving again was to borrow another $787 billion from the Chinese, spend half of it on “shovel-ready” projects that turned out not to be quite so “shovel-ready,” and turn the other half over to federal bureaucracies and the states so that they can dole it out to unionized public employees...regular supporters of the Democrat Party and its candidates.

The point that Republicans needed to get across was that it is only the private sector that creates wealth as it grows the economy. It creates products and services that consumers want to buy, while the public sector (government) creates nothing of value. The stimulus money went to pay federal workers whose bloated salaries average $123,000 per year, compared to $63,000 for similar work in the private sector. That would have angered even economic illiterates, but again, Republicans failed to understand exactly what the people fail to understand.

American businessmen, large and small, are sitting on tons of cash...not expanding, not hiring, and not modernizing. Democrats see that as un-American because, as Michael Moore explains, that money is a “national resource,” to be spent on projects that make Democrats feel good about themselves. What Republicans should be stressing every day, in every way, is that the one thing that is most essential to business planning and decision-making is certainty, and that the one thing that Obama has actually done best in the past two and a half years is to create uncertainty.

Republicans should be stressing to voters that Democrats are so blasé about the profit motive, and so wedded to the notion of “wealth redistribution,” that they see the businessman’s desire for certainty as just another lame excuse for not making “feel-good” investment decisions.

Everyone is concerned that the unemployment rate has risen to 9.2%, but no one, especially Republicans, is tying the unemployment rate to increases in the minimum wage. Since gaining control of Congress in 2006, Democrats have pushed through a forty percent increase in the minimum wage, from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour.

What impact does the minimum wage have on unemployment? Studies show that, for every 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, the overall number of jobs available decreases by about 2 percent. The impact on entry-level jobs is even greater. For each 10 percent increase in the minimum wage, the number of entry-level jobs for teenagers and the unskilled decreases by 4 to 5 percent. So who is taking the lead in educating the people on the role of the minimum wage in our high unemployment rate? Certainly not Republicans.

Few employers are anxious to pay $7.25 per hour to entry-level employees with no demonstrable skills and no prior work experience, yet Republicans avoid the minimum wage issue like the plague. The fact is, many families would be happy to have their teenage children working at $5.15 minimum wage jobs while their father is unemployed. It’s the way families used to deal with hard times way back in the 20th century.

Barack Obama never fails to mention in his speeches that the reason he is unable to produce jobs is because congressional Republicans refuse to meet him half way. To uninformed voters, that argument tends to make a lot of sense. However, what Republicans should be pointing out at every opportunity is that Obama’s jobs bill is actually a job killer and that, in order to meet him half way, they would have to consciously support policies that kill jobs.

When liberals, Democrats, and their toadies in the mainstream media suggest that Herman Cain, Sarah Palin, or Michelle Bachmann are far too inexperienced to serve as president, Republicans have an obligation to point out that each of those individuals are far more experienced, far better prepared for the presidency, than Barack Obama was when he was elected...but they don’t.

I have always suspected that Democrats have a “spin” school where they learn to say things that sound good to the “great unwashed,” but which have little basis in fact or truth. It’s time that Republicans learned to do the same. I’m tired of sitting in my living room, shouting words at my flat-screen TV that Republicans should have sense enough to say on their own. So, Republicans, it’s time to get with the program. Toughen up! Don’t make me come out there.

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