Jack Kemp

The Republican National Convention is under way in New York City - the capital of capital, the epicenter of economic exuberance. This year, the Republican Party has a historic opportunity to capture the hearts, hopes and imagination not only of current shareholders but also the rest of America yearning to participate in the Ownership Society. By offering a pro-growth, pro-family tax system and creating opportunities for all Americans to own their own retirement accounts, their children's education and their own homes, Republicans have an opportunity to garner support from the Democratic base and reshape the political landscape for decades to come.

Workers are no longer concerned merely with wages and salaries; they are increasingly interested in saving and investing - in the process of wealth creation. One can't get rich on wages; the only way to get rich is to earn, save and invest.

I cringe when I hear the rhetoric of class warfare, which seems to have become the raison d'etre of the Democratic Party, whether they are ranting about "the people versus the powerful" or increasing taxes on the "top 2 percent." They just don't get it. The American dream is to become rich, not to punish them.

It's not that Democrats hate the rich - so many of them are rich - or that they care more about the poor; they have little faith in poor people and think the only way the poor can improve their lot in life is for government to take from the rich and redistribute the lucre to them.

Poverty in America is a disgrace and must be addressed through expanding ownership opportunities. It is also, in many cases, more a function of the life cycle than one's station in life. Research shows that as much as 25 percent to 40 percent of Americans move from one income quintile to another in a single year. Today's laborer is tomorrow's investor, owner and job creator. The worker and investor is the same person, just at different stages of his or her life.

Stock ownership in America has expanded dramatically and is at all-time highs with well over half of American households owning stock. While stock ownership has expanded dramatically in America, far too many Americans are still being left out of this new prosperity. After many American workers are through paying Social Security payroll taxes, they have no discretionary income left to save. The problem is not capitalism run amok or too much capitalism, as Democrats suggest, but rather that some areas of the economy are starving for lack of access to capital.

Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp is Founder and Chairman of Kemp Partners and a contributing columnist to Townhall.com.
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