Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Heartland Votes for Its Economic Interest

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

The Heartland Votes for Its Economic Interest

Article excerpt

Democrats are flabbergasted that so many modest-income people in middle America voted against the self-anointed party of the little guy. Conditioned to believe that Republican is synonymous with corporate fat cat, they conclude that the people must either be misinformed, obsessed with moral values, or both.

When will they ever learn that steep tax rates, protectionism, excessive regulation, heavy-handed unionism, uncontrolled subsidies, tax-code complexity, lawsuit abuse, and other aspects of big government are not in the economic interests of most people, regardless of whether they live in "red" or "blue" states?

Economic interest is based on such things as the availability of well-paying jobs, an abundance of goods and services at reasonable prices, quality health care, affordable health insurance, good schools, a comfortable retirement, and an absence of excessive taxation. And by deciding against Kerry, the people of America's heartland did indeed vote in their economic interest.

Let's look at some of those issues one-by-one.

Well-paying jobs

In the vast majority of cases, rising wages don't result from labor union agitation. Rising wages result from labor scarcity. If enough businesses are established so that there is an abundance of jobs, business owners have a harder and harder time finding and keeping workers. They are forced to compete against other businesses for workers. They do that by raising workers' pay and/or improving their benefits.

A key to raising wages, therefore, is to have lots of businesses. That's done through business-friendly policies such as lower taxes, fewer onerous and expensive regulations, and keeping the trial lawyers at bay. Guess which party scores better in that regard?

Certainly, some regulations and taxes are OK. But they can get excessive. We reached that point long ago.

Good schools

This ties into well-paying jobs, since a better education leads to higher earnings. Pouring money into schools only works to a point; witness the Washington, DC school district, which spends the most amount of money per student in the nation, yet has one of the lowest average test scores. What's needed are incentives to boost the quality of education. This includes merit pay for teachers, school vouchers, school choice, standardized testing, and the ability to dismiss bad teachers. But the teachers' unions - the National Education Association (NEA) and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) - stand in the way of these reforms.

The NEA (along with the trial lawyers) is the biggest donor to the Democratic Party. One in 10 delegates to the Democratic National Convention last summer was a teachers' union member. So a vote against Kerry was a vote against teachers unions, and in favor of education reform.

Consumer choice/better prices

Kerry was the anti-candidate here, too. …

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