posted on Sep, 3 2008 @ 01:57 PM
Since Roosevelt the Democrats have been the party that promotes the welfare of the middle class. It looks to the 1950's and 60's as a time of
prosperity in this country because the middle class was growing larger rather than shrinking as it is now. That prosperity was in large part because
tax rates on the rich and on corporations were higher than they are now at the same time that the wages of the average worker were steadily increasing
(in part because of unions) giving the middle class more clout economically and stimulating the economy. There were still the very rich but they
usually didn't flaunt their wealth with unbelievably lavish and extravagant spending as they do now. The Democrats share with the Republicans the
belief that the prosperity of businesses are part of a strong economy, in addition to an increasing prosperity of the middle class, though they think
there should be some constraints on the excesses of them. They believe in cutting taxes on the middle class and a return to higher tax rates on the
top 1% of the poulation and on big businesses.
The Democrats believe there is a role for the government in promtoing the general welfare, in programs such as the "middle class
entitlements"--Social Security, Social Security disablilty, veterans' benefits, etc.--as well as programs for the poorest citizens. They are now in
favor of some sort of national health care. More conservative Democrats, like Clinton, believe, with conservatives, that people should also help
themselves as seen in the Clinton administration's "welfare to work" initiative.
It's true, as one poster has pointed out, that Democrats in the 50's and 60's were more sociallyconservative than they are now, but more
progressive in their economic and social policies. The Republicans were also more liberal, in that they accepted many of the social reforms that
began with Roosevelt, and there was much more bipartisan cooperation in Congress. Both parties were about equally responsibe for the "red scare" of
the 1950's--a collective phobia about communism.
In the 1960's the Democratic party (though some southern Democrats objected) embraced the civil rights movement.
Democrats haven't been that different from Republicans in matters of war and peace, though right now the party is strongly anti-interventionist as
regards the war in Iraq.
I will try to be as fair to the Republicans; I am biased toward the Democrats so I may need correcting on some things.
Republicans have pretty much always promoted the welfare of big businesses, with as few contraints on them as possible. At the extreme end are those
who favor absolute "laissez faire" capitalism, but I don't think those are the majority. I am most familiar with the economic policies of the
Reagan and Bush administrations so I will focus on those. Reaganites (and Bush supporters) were for cutting taxes on big corporations and the top 5%
of the population in the belief that the prosperity of those entities would "trickle down" to the middle class and poor. They say that such tax
cuts pay for themselves, though that's disputed by some economists.
Republicans favor smaller government, the reduction or elimination of social programs and when possible a privatization of them, and fiscal
responsibility. Philosophically they believe in individual responsibility and "pulling oneself up by one's own bootstraps."
Many Republicans believe that the U.S. should export democracy whenever possible. At other times in history Republicans have been non-interventionist
and occasionally isolationist.
Republicans tend to be socially conservative, though the party embraces a wide spectrum of lifestyles and interests. They are called that "party of
the big tent" because of their tolerance of differing views. They are the party of choice of many Evangelical Christians because of their social
conservatism and the general support of issues like the right to life.
I'm sure I left much out but those are the major differences as I see them.
[edit on 3-9-2008 by Sestias]