Republicans Appeal To The Hero. Democrats Appeal To The Victim.
“Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else,” Charles Dickens wondered. He feared that if he wasn’t the hero, then he would surely be the victim of his own life.
Dickens, like most of us, would like to be the hero. That means that we have achieved our important goals and that we are, at least somewhat, in control of our own lives.
A hero is a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Heroes have a different outlook on life. They tend to be more fulfilled and are generally happy. They have confronted problems and achieved success. They took advantage of opportunities and learned to be independent, self-reliant and responsible. They have a positive view of life and are content with where they are.
Heroes concentrate on things they can control.
The dictionary says a victim is someone or something that has been hurt, damaged or killed or has suffered, either because of the actions of someone or something else or because of illness or chance.
Victims generally feel that the place where they are is not where they want to be and that is not their fault that they are where they are. Others have wronged them and victims feel helpless. Their lack of success is always someone else’s fault. They demand justice. They tend to depend on others and refuse to take full responsibility for themselves.
Victims concentrate on and complain about things they can’t control.
The message from each major political party is based on who they are attempting to reach. As a result, the message of the Republicans and the message of the Democrats differ greatly. There is, however, a consistency from each side. Each party’s position is tailored to a specific audience.
For health care, the Dems want a government-run single payer, Medicare for all system. That solution benefits the bottom 9 percent of income earners who do not currently have health insurance. The rest of the population, however, will pay more and receive less. But the 9 percent who are currently victims of the system will be covered.
The Republicans want more competition in the market, more price transparency and the ability for individuals to set up accounts that allow them to pay directly for health care services. The GOP wants more individual responsibility and more direct control of health care spending, that way when market forces push down prices as Americans shop for services, a person will feel like a hero for confronting health care costs. Americans will have more control over health care decisions.
How about income inequality?
For decades and especially in the 10 years prior to President Trump taking office, income inequality worsened. Because of the relatively stagnant U.S. economy from 2007 to 2016, few new opportunities were created. Higher income Americans with specific skills were able to do well financially, while the lack of opportunity meant lower-skilled workers suffered.
As the rich got richer, the poor got poorer and the income gap grew. Republicans want to close the gap by growing the economy to provide more opportunity to those left behind. The GOP believes the solution to income inequality is increasing opportunity so that those who have little will be able to earn more. They want to close the gap by pushing the bottom up. That way each income earner becomes a hero.
The Democrats say that low-income workers have been left behind and are therefore victims. Their poor position is not their fault but rather it is a result of those on top being too greedy. To correct this, they want to overtax high-income earners and overtax all holders of large amounts of wealth.
The Dems want to give the extra tax revenue to the lower income earners in the form of social programs. That means the government can pay for health care, education, additional income and housing expense for low-income earners. This plan will reduce income inequality by taking income away from those that earned it and giving it to people who haven’t earned it. The Dems want to push the top income earners down. That, they believe, will reduce income inequality and compensate victims of corporate greed.
When an American votes for the Republican candidate, the voter wants policy set that will provide opportunity, leading to more individual freedom, more individual responsibility, lower rates of taxation and a limited role for government. These policies allow Americans to become the hero of their own life.
A vote for the Democratic candidate will mean free health care, free college tuition, basic universal income and protection from big business. These policies will result in less individual freedom, more social responsibility, higher rates of taxation and a larger role for government. The Dems policies will help all of those Americans who have been victimized by what the Dems called a rigged system.
Are you voting to be the hero or the victim of your life?
Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in finance and economics. @mbusler www.facebook.com/fundingdemocracy