Where We Can Find Common Ground


September 28, 2016 2:28PM

Last week the Beacon Center teamed up with strange bedfellows to fight for criminal justice reform in Tennessee. Although we disagree with some of our new coalition partners on a number of issues, our groups have come together to fight for a common goal, which makes it all the more powerful.

Due to extreme philosophical differences, there are some issue areas such as taxation, abortion, and gun rights, to name a few, where the left and right will never agree. However, I think many times we overlook the areas where we can find common ground. While the reasoning for agreeing on certain issues may not be the same, sometimes there is the same policy solution. Outside of criminal justice reform, here are three more areas where the Left and the Right should come together.

Ending Corporate Welfare

In theory, the Right believes in free markets, fair competition, and fiscal conservatism, while the Left believes in fairness and tax dollars not going to corporations. Ending the corrupt practice of corporate welfare is a great place for the values of both sides to come together. Businesses should succeed or fail based on the value that they provide consumers, not whom they know in government. All businesses deserve an equal playing field. Government should not provide huge competitive advantages to large corporations over small businesses, and certainly not at the expense of taxpayers. Whether the reasoning is letting the free market work without government interference or making sure that taxpayers aren’t forced to give their money to corporations, both sides should want to put an end to corporate handouts. You can visit our new website, to find out more.

School Choice

In principle, the Right is looking for efficiency in government, competition, and equal opportunity (not outcomes) for everyone, while the Left understands that those in poor and minority communities don’t have the same access to a good education as those in wealthy communities. People on both sides of the political aisle should embrace school choice, whether that means charter schools, vouchers for private schools, or education savings accounts. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the government is often inefficient, and while it is annoying in some instances (think Post Office or DMV), it is flat out unacceptable when its inefficiency alters the course of a child’s life for the worse. Every child deserves a great education regardless of his or her financial situation, and we have already seen that throwing more money at a failing system doesn’t fix any problems. Families, not ZIP codes, should determine the type and quality of our children’s education.

Occupational Licensing

The Right wants less government regulation in business and the Left wants to make sure the poor and disenfranchised are given every opportunity to succeed—that is where occupational licensing comes in. The government forcing someone to spend tens of thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours to wash hair, for example, is unfair and immoral. Occupational licensing hurts low-income professions the most. Excessive, unnecessary regulation is a major issue that liberals and conservatives need to come together to stop.

With our new bi-partisan coalition, Beacon is hoping to be a model for Tennesseans to have real conversations with people who disagree with you. Just because you disagree on some issues does not mean that you can’t have similar stances on other issues. We are not nearly as divided as the press makes us out to be.