Let’s examine economic and educational priorities and solutions of Doug Jones and Roy Moore.
Doug Jones – An Appropriate Role for Government – Doug proposes a suite of reasonable, common-sense measures for accelerating economic growth in Alabama, and nationally. These include:
- Business Opportunity. Assisting the creation and growth of small businesses by streamlining regulations making it easier for people from all walks of life to participate in the entrepreneurial economy;
- Quality Education. Delivering a quality education to all children that develops practical knowledge and vocational skills appropriate to the 21st-century economy;
- Investing in Fairness. Reaffirming the value of fairness in allocation of advantages and benefits of government assistance – with appropriate public investment in the well-being of all children and in all forms of social and physical infrastructure taking priority over tax breaks and subsidies for the wealthy and powerful; and
- Living Wage. Applying these same standards of fairness to the workplace, with government support for a living wage and for (in the spirit of Lily Ledbetter) equal pay for equal work.
Roy Moore – A “Stimulated” Economy – Roy considers the economy and education policy as distinct buckets, with the economy the domain of private businesses and education primarily the concern of families. His priorities, which don’t really cohere beyond their disdain for the federal government, include:
- Economic Freedom. Shrinking taxes, government bureaucracy, and federal spending to “stimulate” the economy and allow for unfettered wealth accumulation;
- Economic Nationalism. Spurning outward-facing global “free trade” agreements that cede national sovereignty to international trade bodies or trade regimes and that are responsible for “failing” businesses and a suffering workforce.
- Consumption Tax. Proposing substitution of a European-style consumption tax for a tax on income (an idea that, when framed properly, quite a few economists would support).
- Educational Freedom. Fully removing the role of the federal government from education and returning the freedom of parents to choose between charter schools, vouchers, tax credits, home schooling, Christian schools, and technical training as options for the education of their children.
Observations – As with their “fundamental” priorities for the state of Alabama and for the American nation, Doug Jones and Roy Moore could not differ more dramatically in their economic and education policy commitments.
- Ownership and Authenticity. Doug Jones offers a detailed, nuanced, and thoughtful statement of principles for guiding and shaping the nation’s economic and educational policies. In that sense, and in contrast to Roy Moore, Doug Jones owns his political philosophy and policy prescriptions; they are authentically his, commitments for which he can take responsibility as a public servant for the state of Alabama.
- Sharper Shed Tools. The chopped brevity and mechanical recitation of talking points in Roy Moore’s statements of his positions on economic and education policy tells us a lot about his indifference to, and ignorance of, substantive and practical policy matters that mean everything for Americans in their daily lives and their hopes for the future. Roy Moore is fundamentally “inauthentic.” As Republicans have themselves admitted, the prevailing belief is that Moore will merely serve in the Senate as a passive sheep, voting according to the prods of “sharper shed tools” such as Ted Cruz of Texas or Mike Lee of Utah.
- Swamp Corruption. These rhetorical differences on the issues remind us that Roy Moore’s economic and education policy prescriptions really promise nothing more than the recurring cycles of corruption and self-dealing already associated with the Republican Party in Alabama – and, to be fair, in any state or nation governed by a single party. Alabama sits within its own swamp, Lord knows, and Roy Moore is one of its most slippery and sinister creatures.