Republicans and the Blue Collar Worker
By Aaron Borders
I want to open this article with a simple, yet profound, statement from President Reagan “You can’t be for big Government, big taxes, and big bureaucracy and still be for the little guy.”
When I talk to Blue Collar workers I have found many of them do not spent much time following politics. They rarely know how government works from the federal level down to local government, yet they have a common thread as they often tell me, “Republicans ONLY care about the Rich.” It always breaks my heart to hear this because I know that it is the furthest thing from the truth; yet, a lot of the Blue Collar workers I meet truly believe this from the bottom of their hearts.
I could go back and explain how we got to this point, and I used to try. However, I find that I usually lose them as I dig into American political history. Lets face it, unless you’re really plugged into politics, a 10 minute dissertation is way too painful to the average “non-political” Joe.
This is where our challenge lies. How do we educate, but not lecture? How do we be informative, but not come across as combative, arrogant and preachy? How I have started talking about Republican economics is simply to tell of my Blue Collar struggles and their paycheck.
Long ago in Ohio I worked with my cousins and friends in the construction field and I found that it was a trade that would suit me. Soon after, I started to work for a masonry company and went to masonry school to be a brick, block and stone mason. A few years later I started working for a General Contracting company, and started to make the best money of my young life. One afternoon the boss asked me to work a Saturday to help keep a project on track and enticed me by saying, “I will pay you time and a half!” I jumped on the opportunity.
A week or so later I went to grab get my check so I could take my young wife out to dinner to make up for the prior Saturday. When I opened my check, it was smaller then my normal checks. I thought there must be some mistake and went to speak with the HR department. Betty-Joe from HR sat me down and listened to my bewilderment for a few minutes before finally cutting me off. She calmly explained it to me, “Aaron, I know this is hard to understand, but you made too much money this week. It pushed you into a higher tax bracket, and so you have to pay a higher percentage in taxes then you normally do, making your check smaller.”
I had taken economics in school and thought I understood government taxes, but that day solidified my realization that I deserved the money I worked for, not the government. I have always believed that taxes were the ultimate win-fall for the government, but now I knew how unfair the system was. I had worked hard, negotiated my wages, put in extra time, yet now that I had worked one day more the government needed more of my money. I remember thinking, that was MY money, MY time and I earned it; not the Government.
From then on whenever my foreman asked me to work on Saturday, I always said that I had prior plans, and couldn’t. This in turn, made the projects we were building take longer, stalling the projects opening and thus slowing the growth of the economy in our small town.
There was no financial gain for me to work harder, so why would I; especially since the additional work actually accounted for a loss to my paycheck. If I would have gotten the paycheck with the extra money instead of extra taxes; my wife and I would have supported a local restaurant, tipped the waiter/waitress a little bit more, and probably spent a little more money at the store. All of that was taken out of the local economy, because I refused to work harder to earn less.
As I moved through my life and I became a business owner. I found this reasoning also applied to business. With a normal business plan, a business strives to reaches different levels of success in order to reinvest into its self. Whither it is more efficient tools, a larger facility, or more employees; a business is reaching for higher benchmarks. During this struggle to grow, they always have to account for the constant draining of funds being pulled away from the business via the government and taxes. This constant draining is a roadblock that every determined job creator has to jump over to be successful.
Democrats try to put blinders on low-income employee to say, “the other guys can afford to pay a little higher taxes.” However, many times the ‘other guy’ in this statement is their employer or a corporation that with the ability to keep a bit more of THEIR profit could hire more employees. Just like when I couldn’t spend MY money on MY family with MY earnings, a company getting a higher tax bills can not spend or invest their money in their company, through pay raises (to the Blue Collar Workers), new equipment, or new employees.
These financial hurdles and roadblocks hurt Blue Collared Workers yet, the Democrats consistently want to raise taxes on income and businesses that directly impact Blue Collar Workers. The Democrat Party says it’s a huge supporter of the “little guy” and the “Blue Collar Worker” but then their economic plan completely rejects this point. Anyone who wants people and businesses to pay more, because of their hard they work cannot say they want everyone to succeed. This makes the Democrat platform either completely disingenuous or completely inept to basic capitalistic principles.
When I tell this story to Blue Collar workers, I watch as they put it into perspective and see the basic logic and reasoning. Many Democrat candidates demonize corporations, big business and “the Rich.” In all actuality they are really demonizing every worker who wants to work hard to succeed for their family. Every worker should be able to work hard to support their family and every corporation needs to work hard to reinvest into itself. This is how Republicans view the economic development with tax cuts in order to spur economic growth.
President Ronald Reagan implemented this strategy when he cut taxes across the board and created a boom in the economy in the 1980’s. He so eloquently said, “A rising tide floats all boats.” When I try to start with this quote, I am always accused of defending the “rich guy.” But when I start the story from the beginning, I find that this quote is a great closer because by then nearly all my Blue Collar friends have realized that Republicans are actually the party for the hard working Blue Collar workers, not the Democrats.
About the Author: Aaron Borders is a Financial Specialist and business owner in Arizona. Aaron was a Journeyman Mason and partner in a General Contracting and Construction business prior to the 2008 market crash. He got the proper education in order to help families and businesses with their Risk Management and Financial needs. He lives in Litchfield Park with his wife Shelly and three little boys, with a baby girl due in Sept. Aaron Borders is also a candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives in Legislative District 29. For more information on Aaron, please visit his website at