Key Idea The Democratic Party and the Republican Party have differing views on the role of government.
Party Similarities The parties agree that there should be a “safety net” but they disagree on how big and expensive it should be, who should be eligible, and whether it is publicly or privately funded (who should pay for it?). Publicly funded means that the government pays for it.
Primary Belief The Democratic Party It is the duty of society to help the less fortunate through government “safety nets.” Government should play a larger role in paying for social services (healthcare, welfare, etc.)
Primary Belief The Republican Party TThe private sector and/or the individual are better suited than government to control their own lives. PPrivate sector means businesses Government should play a smaller role in paying for social services. Markets will optimize the outcomes rather than government mandates.
Taxes The Republican Party There should not be a highly progressive tax system. There should be lower taxes and more tax cuts Progressive taxes punish people who have large incomes. “Reaganomics” – reduced income tax rates would allow people to put more money into the economy, lead to more growth and prosperity, and as a bonus, generate more revenue for the government.
Taxes The Democratic Party There should be a progressive tax system (people with higher incomes should pay higher taxes than people with lower incomes. They believe high earners got their money from society and therefore owe society a larger share of their income. Democrats criticize “Reaganomics” and call it “Trickle- down economics” that favors the rich over the poor.
Environment The Democratic Party Democrats are pro-environment and favor conservation of natural resources together with strong environmental laws against pollution.
Environment The Republican Party FFavor reduction of environmental regulations (There should be fewer government rules about the environment. These rules hurt the economy. Individuals and businesses will compete and this competition will result in lower emissions and help the environment).
The Economy & Labor Unions The Republican Party ffavors less governmental intervention in the economy; supports restricting organized labor
The Democratic Party favors government regulation of the economy; supports organized labor
Welfare Definition: financial or other assistance to an individual or family from a government
Welfare The Democratic Party favors keeping welfare in place for the poor and disadvantaged
Welfare The Republican Party favors cutting back welfare benefits in order to foster initiative for welfare recipients to find work
Education Vouchers Definition: a government tax credit for parents, equal to all or part of the cost of educating their child at an elementary or secondary school of their choice.
Education The Republican Party favors school funding initiatives that allow for parental choice, including school vouchers for private schools
Education The Democratic Party favors school funding initiatives that create competitive public schools
Healthcare Universal Health Care Definition: Universal health care is health care coverage for all eligible residents of an area and often covers medical and dental care. Typically, costs are covered mostly by publicly-funded programs.
Healthcare The Democratic Party favors a national health insurance system
Healthcare The Republican Party opposes a single payer (government based) universal healthcare system and wants to improve the current system