OpEd: In 2018, Republicans are fighting for the future

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By Val DiGiorgio, Chairman, Republican Party of Pennsylvania

Val DiGiorgio

A lot has changed in our national political landscape—some for the good, some for the bad—but for the first time in over a decade (thanks in large part to Republican achievement) a record-low number of people are concerned about the economy. 

Republican-led tax cuts and deregulation have created an economic boom in this country many people never thought possible. The current economic growth has led a lot of Americans to stop thinking so much about immediate needs and, instead, focus more on their future. Issues like social security, health care, and the consequences of large amounts of student debt are foremost in American minds this election cycle. 

Republicans are also concerned about these issues. But there is another overriding issue that our party feel must be addressed. This one concerns all of our futures and the kind of country our children will inherit. 

The left, including most of the Democrat Party, has become a Party that clearly does not value our founding and the principles on which our nation was established. They now espouse a radical and, frankly, frightening direction for our nation – one wholly inconsistent with free markets, individual rights and freedom. I speak of socialism.  

Our fight against socialism and its related policies is not fear-mongering in an election year. It’s not playing to base emotions in order to try to scare voters into choosing Republicans. It is very real.

While socialists like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders have made waves nationally, right here in Pennsylvania we have four self-described Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) candidates nominated by Democrat voters to run for seats in the state House of Representatives. The Democrat nominee for Lt. Governor has sought the endorsement of socialists and unabashedly supports a number of their positions. Even a number of Democrats running for Congress in Pennsylvania have embraced far left, income redistribution, socialist positions.

Socialist candidates and their associated beliefs are not some vague threat. They are already here.

For me, a particular sign of the pervasiveness of the Democrats’ rush to the socialist left came in remarks made by my counterpart, the Chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, Nancy Patton Mills.

In a recent interview, she said about two of the Pittsburgh-area DSA candidates on the ballot for state legislative seats: “I don’t see that they are any different than any other of our candidates. The connotation that they are somehow radical isn’t right.”

The connotation that they are somehow radical isn’t right? Not only does this ignore that the Democratic Socialists of America held their first ever “Rust Belt Conference” in Pittsburgh to do nothing less than “Radicalize the Rust Belt,” but the statement is in complete disregard for the irresponsible positions of DSA candidates up and down the ballot.

To begin with, the DSA’s national platform calls for “a massive redistribution of wealth” in order to fund social programs like free higher education for all and universal healthcare. 

How will they achieve that? According to the DSA itself, such a redistribution of wealth will be through the social (collective or government) ownership of private enterprise and/or through massive tax increases to incentivize behavior.

In other words, socialists in the Democrat Party are openly calling for confiscation of wealth and the insertion of government into the American way of life in a way only ever seen in countries like Venezuela, Cuba and communist Russia.

And we all know how that turned out.

Here are their own words, which can easily be found on the DSA’s website:

“While the large concentrations of capital in industries such as energy and steel may necessitate some form of state ownership, many consumer-goods industries might be best run as cooperatives.” 

Or even: 

“The government could use regulations and tax incentives to encourage companies to act in the public interest…” 

As one Democrat warning of the evil of the socialism his family escaped in Cuba recently said in a recent USA Today op-ed:

“Democratic socialism is a lot like the system my family fled, except its proponents promise to be nicer when seizing your business.”

If that does not make any person who lived through the Cold War-era cringe, then certainly the way Democrats and DSA candidates are utilizing commonly-held regrets and fears should. 

By seeking to play on one’s regret over yesterday, DSA members and like-minded Democrats have vowed to support policies leading to free higher education for all.

While there is no doubt the current student debt burden in this country is high, creating a government-subsidized or controlled system of free higher education is dangerous.

Given the level of government control DSA candidates seek for private business, it is easy to extrapolate how they would treat a free system of higher education.

You can forget the dream of a debt-free college experience where people can choose the school they want, the major they think best fits their skills, and the career path they are hoping for.

Instead, as with most government-controlled programs, you can imagine some government board telling you what school you can attend, what major best achieves the goals of the state, and how that education will lead one into a career path they neither seek nor desire. 

Playing on one’s fear of tomorrow, Democrats have now created a purity test of requiring candidates to support some from of universal or single-payer health care.

The outrageous costs of this plan have been well documented as costing over $32 trillion nationally, and requiring over $12 billion in new taxes annually in a Pennsylvania-specific model. 

Increasing Democrat calls to implement a single-payer system have even had institutional Democrats like Pennsylvania’s own Ed Rendell cautioning against making this a cornerstone of the party’s talking points.

Costs aside, this is another area where Democrats and DSA ideologues are seeking to significantly enhance the role of government in the lives of people.

Government subsidies result in government control: Control over the practice of medicine, control over what doctors one can see, rationing of health care and control over when and if someone receives a procedure.

Remember when you were told you could keep your doctor under Obamacare, only until you weren’t? Remember when Obamacare premiums skyrocketed to, where here in Pennsylvania, they increased 120 percent from when the program was first implemented?

What makes you think a single-payer system will work any better?

These are just a few of the ways the Democrats and their DSA candidates are seeking to alter this country and the role government plays in our lives.

This is what Republicans are fighting against, and why—regardless of the outcome in any election—we will continue to bring to Americans the promise of limited government, respect for taxpayer dollars, and the ability of each person to make their own future. 

Personal and individual freedom was what this country was founded on and is a cornerstone of Western civilization, which is openly ignored, if not mocked, in our universities these days.  The founding fathers—remember—were rebelling against government intrusion and taxation, not calling for more of it. 

It was a consolidated government’s control over religion, trade, and the economy and excessive taxation that spurred the foundation of the American Republic.

To re-open the door to centralized control over our institutions, to seek a “massive redistribution of wealth,” and to call for open borders is to call for an end to our country as we know it. 

It’s a call to completely abandon the hope that the founders of this country had for our future and to replace it with visions of an academic paradise that has only brought failure, poverty, shared misery and the consolidation of power in the hands of a few elite. 

Maybe that’s their intent. After all, it was then presidential candidate Barack Obama, who right before his election, called for the fundamental transformation of America.  Not its government, not is foreign policy, but America!

In many respects, Pennsylvania is the literal front line in the DSA’s attempt to use the Democrat Party to find a way into the mainstream and completely alter the future of our country.

Republicans are already fighting back, and, for our future—for our children’s future—we will not stop.

Val DiGiorgio is Chairman of the Pennsylvania Republican Party and Chair of the Chester County Republican Committee. He is a former County Controller.

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