The Ice Bucket Challenge and Liberty

The Ice Bucket Challenge and Liberty

Unless you’ve been living under a rock these past few weeks, you have seen, or at least heard of, the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for ALS. If you haven’t, you can read a description of it here. The basic gist of the challenge is that people have to take a video of themselves getting ice water dumped on them, donate $100 to ALS research, or both.

There have been many supporters of this campaign, as well as a fair amount of detractors, but the bottom line is that this has been a brilliant marketing campaign, which has already raised over $88.5 million for a very worthy cause. On top of that, I suspect many people who have never previously heard of ALS are now aware of the disease and may make future donations.

This all brings me to my point: marketing is everything. I don’t just say that because my career is in marketing, I say it because it is the truth. The problem is that the other side of the political spectrum is much better at marketing their ideas than we on the right are. From “The Life of Julia” to Medicaid expansion, the Left does an incredible job selling ideas. There is good news though: we have better ideas! The Left does a great job selling horrible ideas, and the right does a horrible job selling great ideas.

The principles of liberty and freedom are the ideals that will move this country forward, and we just need to do a better job selling them to the general public. Sure, raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and expanding Medicaid for uninsured Americans sounds great on paper, but it’s our job to show that it means less freedom and opportunity for the very people these plans purportedly help. Even though pretty much all the statistics and facts out there back up our claims, Americans still believe that raising the minimum wage and expanding Medicaid are good ideas. This means that we cannot just win the argument by having the correct facts and figures, we have to win the arguments with stories and emotion. We can either embrace the Left’s approach to marketing ideas, or we can continue to lose. And when our ideas lose, so do Americans.

-Mark Cunningham

August 29th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

With all the news about corporate inversions, where large corporations move their headquarters “on paper” to a country with a lower corporate tax rate, it is easy to lose sight of who actually employs most Americans—small businesses on Main Street.

As our political leaders and national media call for the closing of this particular loophole, those of us at Beacon know this one loophole is not the biggest issue, and in fact businesses are considering these decisions because of the larger unfair corporate tax structure that encourages business to move overseas. This is just a symptom of a larger issue.

Perhaps this is best illustrated at the state level. As Tennesseans, we pride ourselves on responsible governance, on maintaining the lowest debt per capita in the nation, of being the third freest state in the union, and competing amongst the short-list of states without an income tax. In fact, we don’t believe that good is good enough. Many leaders in our state legislature are also calling for a repeal of our Hall Tax on investment income to ensure that Tennessee remains a competitive incubator for future economic growth. In so doing, we’ll become a magnet for businesses in other states to relocate to a more business-friendly environment.

It’s time for Washington to take note of Tennessee’s example. We need full-scale tax reform for all businesses and all Americans. We need an all-out assault on spending in Washington.

A fairer and flatter tax code that broadens the tax burdens for all Americans and American businesses, paired with reined in spending, is necessary if we want Tennesseans and small business owners to have the cash to invest in their future and live their American Dream.

Helping you pursue your version of the American Dream is at the very core of Beacon’s mission. Just this week, the Beacon Center and CEO Justin Owen participated in an event with U.S. Rep. Diane Black and the Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition of small business and community leaders to discuss these market-based state and national tax reforms. As a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee, Rep. Black is uniquely positioned to impact the decisions on how our tax dollars are spent. She has been a leader in promoting pro-growth legislation and policy discussions since residents of the 6th District first sent her to Washington.

Of course, she cannot do this alone. Our state and nationally elected officials must hear from Tennesseans across the state. Let us join in the call for repealing our state’s Hall Tax and stand with Rep. Black to bring true corporate tax and spending reform to Washington.

-Lindsay Boyd

August 28th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Burger King Critics Grill Wrong People

Burger King Critics Grill Wrong People

When news broke yesterday that Burger King was headed north of the border to reduce its tax liability, many people lost their minds. Facebook commenters took to Burger King’s page and hurled epithets  like “traitor,” “un-American,” and “tax cheat” at the burger joint. Americans have a right to be upset that an iconic brand is fleeing for Canada, but they’re pointing their finger in the wrong direction.

The only reason Burger King is heading north is our prohibitive corporate tax rate, which is the highest effective corporate tax rate in the world. At nearly 40 percent, our corporate tax rate is some 15 points higher than the average nation’s.

It’s important to remember that corporations don’t pay taxes. It’s not as if Burger King’s creepy faux king mascot foots the corporation’s tax bill. People do. Burger King’s workers pay it through lower wages, shareholders pay it through lower payouts on their investments, and consumers pay it through higher burger prices. Burger King’s attempt to reduce its tax burden will only mean it can pass on higher wages to workers, higher earnings to investors, and cheaper burgers to the rest of us. Burger King is simply making a prudent business decision.

If Americans are up in arms about the restaurant’s relocation, they should call their congressman and demand that we fix our tax code, starting with the corporate tax. Get rid of all the loopholes that favor some business over others, and lower the overall rate for all businesses—from the mom and pop shop to the Burger King’s of the world. That’s the “American” solution to this whole affair.

- Justin Owen


August 27th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

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