Republicans vs. Democrats
(Printed in the Towanda Daily Review on April 9, 2005.)

In an 4/3/05 Op-Ed in the Washington Post, Michael Kinsley compared the fiscal performance of Republican vs. Democratic administrations over the past four decades.

Under Republicans, federal spending has increased an average of $55 billion per year; Democrats have averaged $40 billion.

Republicans do cut taxes, although the reductions are mostly skewed to the top few percent of high income earners. However, they also spend more than Democrats. Under Republicans, the federal deficit has averaged $131 billion/yr; Democrats have averaged $30 billion/yr. Republicans, on average, have increased the federal deficit by $36 billion/yr; Democrats reduced it by $25 billion/yr. Republican presidents have increased the national debt by $200 billion/yr, twice that of Democrats. As anyone responsible for a budget knows, less income with increased spending means more debt.

Under Republicans, the gross domestic product rose an average of $165 billion/yr (in constant year-2000 dollars); under Democrats, $212 billion/yr. Democrats also did better on unemployment (5.33% vs. 6.38%).

On social and moral issues, Republicans claim to support life and are against abortion for any reason, yet oppose any method to reduce unwanted pregnancies. They support abstinence-only programs and virginity pledges, yet a recent report in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that those you took the pledge had only slightly reduced incidences of sexually transmitted diseases than non-pledgers. A successful abstinence program should have had zero occurrences.

On end of life issues, federal Republicans have attempted to interfere with State-concurred spousal decisions as shown in the recent Schiavo case. However, their sanctity of life agenda rings hollow: approximately 1600 U.S. soldiers and magnitudes more of innocent Iraqi civilians have died in a war based on lies while nothing is being done to two real threats, Iran and North Korea; the U.S. remains with the minority of countries with the death penalty; the Bush budget proposes cuts in Medicaid, veterans benefits, health care, and other life sustaining or life enriching programs.

With Republicans, it is best to ignore their rhetoric and watch their actions. It seems that what they do does not agree with what they claim to do.

John L. Ferri

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