The transcript of the Republican debate at nytimes.com
I expected to be bored. I expected to be disgusted with conservative views on abortion, immigration, the church and other stuff but the first few minutes of the Republican debate were certainly a huge surprise. Irrespective of the fact that most of the republican hopefuls might in themselves be idiots of the first order (with the exception of maybe McCain, Guiliani and Romney), their advisors and speech writers are certainly first-class. That is to be expected from mostly millionaire conservatives but the way each of their opinions were tailored to appeal to middle class americans could blow a huge hole in Democrats' campaigns. Some of the republicans were actually talking protectionism, indirect sales tax as opposed to income tax... The approval ratings say that people look to democrats to managing the economy properly. The republicans have moved from being right-wing both socially and economics-wise to being simply social right-wingers. The current campaigns seem to be directed to get lost ground back.
The republican's problem is not that they are careful about spending, that's just peachy. Its not that they support lower taxation, fills my heart with joy. The point is that they don't mind cutting spending for health insurance for poor children ( the SCHIP expansion veto) and cutting spending on public works for the average American which lead to incidents like the minneapolis bridge crash, the Katrina bungling etc. but don't think twice about spending on ramping up their testosterone in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in relatively peaceful central asia just to spite Russia or expanding patrolling in the malacca straits (for goodness sake!! what the hell does the US want to do there??)
Their lower taxation is first enjoyed by people with incomes >200000$ per annum and later by those with lower incomes. The higher your income the more you benefit i.e. the lesser you earn the lesser you benefit. And no, not in absolute terms; in percentage terms. Middle class americans pay an average of 30% of his/her income as tax while the hedge fund manager probably pays about 2 to 5% of his close-to-billion$ income, the average CEO pays about 15%. The more you earn the less you pay.
Call me cynical but I think Republicans came up with the idea of indirect consumer taxation, which sounds like a leftist dream, because its easier to screw around with this supposed "fair tax" than with income tax. You can tax bread at 2% and Humvees at 20%. Sounds fair enough. But at the end of the day, everyone eats the same amount of bread (oh! organic bread will be taxed lower of course... guess who consumes organic, whole wheat bread fortified with omega oils?) but the middle class doesn't buy humvees. So a larger percentage of middle class income goes to buy the basics which are taxed at the same rate for everyone while the rich have more money to buy playthings with. In a republican regime, the consumption tax WILL be screwed around with to leave the likes of billionaire ranchers with more money in their hands.
Even supposedly level-headed Guiliani goes "You can't possibly cut every tax, as I think Congressman Tancredo pointed out. You need money for police. You need money for military. But I cut, I think, as many taxes as you possibly could in that period of time.".. oh! he will cut every other tax.. cut every other spending but he wouldn't dream of cutting spending for the actual phallic tools of state control.