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What the GOP should stand for: Opportunity


By Ted Cruz,

Ted Cruz, a Republican, represents Texas in the Senate.

Since Election Day, much energy has been spent analyzing why Republicans did so poorly. Many have urged that Republicans must “moderate their views,” by which they mean we should adopt more policies of Democrats.

That advice misdiagnoses the problem. The 2012 election did not reflect popular approval of the Obama policies of out-of-control spending, taxes, deficits and debt. To the contrary, 51 percent of voters on Election Day agreed that “government is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

Nor did the election reflect satisfaction with the paltry economic growth that President Obama’s abusive regulatory approach has produced. Voters are rightly unhappy with the anemic growth in gross domestic product the past four years; the average, just 1.5 percent, is less than half of our historic average since World War II, but 53 percent of voters believed the economy was George W. Bush’s fault.

Why did voters believe that? Obama repeated it relentlessly, and Republicans never responded.

First you win the argument, then you win the vote, Margaret Thatcher famously admonished. Republicans did neither.

Nothing better illustrates that failure than “47 percent.” Not the comment itself nor the good and decent person who uttered it, but, rather, the overall narrative of Republicans. Voters were convinced that the GOP is the party of “the rich” and that Democrats are the party of everybody else.

That characterization is false, but as long as a majority of Americans believe that Republican policies do not benefit them, Republicans will continue to lose.

And far too many Republicans believe it as well.

So let me suggest an alternative course: opportunity conservatism. Republicans should conceptualize and articulate every domestic policy with a single-minded focus on easing the ascent up the economic ladder.

We should assess policy with a Rawlsian lens, asking how it affects those least well-off among us. We should champion the 47 percent.

That does not mean adopting the wealth-redistribution policies of the left. Among other problems, collectivist approaches to our economy simply do not work. They fail to produce economic prosperity or to improve the material conditions of the populace. And they lead to bankruptcy and economic collapse, as Europe demonstrates daily.

Why do millions of people from all over the world come to the United States? Because no other nation has offered such opportunity. Nowhere else can so many come with nothing and achieve anything.

And yet, as Democrats work to move the United States further toward the failed economic policies of European social democracies, our economic mobility has diminished. Without fail, when government controls the economy, opportunity dries up.

Whenever entrepreneurs and small businesses suffer, those struggling to improve their economic conditions are hurt the worst. Under the Obama administration, the unemployment rate climbed above 10 percent among Hispanics last year and to 14 percent among African Americans. Yet Republicans never talked about this.

Free-market policies expand opportunity, produce prosperity and improve lives, especially for those working to climb the economic ladder.

I know this is not a theory. My dad fled torture and oppression in Cuba to come, penniless, to Texas. He washed dishes for 50 cents an hour to pay his way through college and then started a small business.

Roughly one in every 10 Hispanic households, or 2.3 million Hispanics, own small businesses.

For centuries, entre­pre­neur­ship has been the path to the American dream.

On the flip side, widespread economic redistribution places enormous burdens on small businesses, kills jobs and rarely helps the recipients of government largess.

Dependency is corrosive. Ask any abuela if she wants her grandchildren dependent on government. Dependency saps spirit and diminishes self-respect.

Americans want to stand on their own feet, and Republicans need to champion policies that enable us to do so: ownership, choice and individual responsibility.

Opportunity conservatism is a powerful frame to explain conservative policies that work. It covers the gamut of issues. Republicans shouldn’t just assail excessive financial and environmental regulations; we should explain how those regulations kill jobs and restrict Americans’ ability to buy their first home.

Don’t just say no to new taxes — fundamentally reform the tax code so that every American can file his taxes on a postcard. Eliminate the corporate welfare and complexity that enrich only accountants and lawyers.

Don’t just criticize union bosses; explain how closed shops confiscate wages and make it harder for low-skilled workers to get jobs.

Don’t talk generically about education; advocate school choice to empower parents and expand opportunity for children struggling to get ahead.

Don’t just dwell on the long-term solvency of Social Security; promote personal accounts to allow low-income Americans to accumulate wealth and pass it on to future generations.

Republicans ought to view, and explain, every policy through the lens of economic mobility. Conservative policies help those struggling to climb the economic ladder, and liberal policies hurt them. If Republicans want to win, we need to champion opportunity.


  1. Absolutely.
    That is the first critique of how Republicans need to change that is dead on!

    There was a poll that asked what the fair share of taxes amounts to. What is the top rate for the wealthy to pay in taxes?
    Overwhelmingly the answer was less than they were paying before this last increase.
    Thats why I think the reduction/removal of deductions gained some momentum(before the media demonized it with the scare tactic of mortgage deduction elimination).
    I will see if I can find the poll.
    But think about that a large majority thinks the fair tax rate should be lower than it was. And many of those voters believe that the rich pay no taxes/mainly because of deductions.

    Why do you think that there was little outrage among the low information populace when Obama was trying to get rid of the charitable deduction?
    Average Joe either cant afford to donate enough to qualify or he doesnt think he donated enough and doesnt want the extra burden of figuring it out come tax time.

    1. Here ya go:

      Twenty-seven percent of respondents said income taxes should be capped at 10 percent of an individual’s income; 16 percent of respondents said fifteen, 22 percent of respondents said twenty, 14 percent of respondents said thirty, just 4 percent of respondents said forty, and 3 percent of respondents said fifty percent or more. Thirteen percent expressed no opinion.

      Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2011/09/22/poll-what-is-the-wealthys-fair-share-of-taxes/#ixzz2H4hBvcGJ
      So why the disparage? loopholes.
      And what better way to demonstrate that? GE !
      GE is to tax loopholes as to the rich dont pay taxes!
      Obama was more than happy to have the Ge narrative out there. And with the media on his side the the fact that he crafted that outcome was never a catchy issue!

  2. Ted Cruz says it well.

    Low information voters aren't just the 47%. There are many educated, employed, and even relatively wealthy voters who are poorly informed. I think they are too busy raising their families and running their businesses to look beyond MSM for information. I know a few of them.

    1. I know a very many of them.
      And even on basic issues they are uninformed scared.
      For instance.
      One of them I know was convinced beyond reach that Romney wanted to ban planned parenthood.
      Get rid of it! slash and burn fear. She had stories of how planned P saved her life by finding uterin Cancer.(referring her to be diagnosed)
      When told that all that was desired was to not have tax $$$$ go toward abortion via programs like planned parenthood,the outrage and denial was close to apoplectic.
      She was convinced that there were to be immediate laws banning/shutting down such programs.
      Its truly scary what people believe.
      But if you want to be scared even more.....
      This person is a facebook and every person she meets chatterbox.
      Remember the shampoo commercial.
      You tell two people and they tell two people etc...

      This is the chatterwall that is the misinformed.
      And yet the Conservative must watch every word and shy away from such conversations.
      I lomg ago heard a tale about why the Chinese adopted such large rimmed hats as a mainstay of hat-wear.

      The story was that the Chinese Rulers mandated the size of hat. Why you ask?
      So the citizens couldn't get close enough to each-other to whisper without being heard by others.
      That is I am sure a far fetched story but it is how a fearful Gov works.
      Today the PC mantra serves the same purpose!
      Just think about it. The Pub was the main place to hash out the differences with governance and any other difficulties.At the point when it became un PC to discuss politics or Religion in pubs civil communication took a blow to its broadside.
      And after so many years of "large rimmed hats" the populace lost the ability to discuss differences face to face.
      Think about that for a moment.
      And then I would love to hear your thoughts.

  3. Jer.
    I must admit that I like the Chatterbox addition,But tonight was the first time I actually tried to type in something.
    I know I am computer dense but I could find no way to even type in a single word.
    I didnt see a place to sign in. I clicked every space I could find to be able to type and nada!
    I know its my ignorance but I could use some help in figuring out where I am uninformed as to how the chat works.