The chairman of the California Republican Party visited UC Berkeley Wednesday and expressed his political opinion on the current state of the economy, sparking snarky debate amongst audience members.
Thomas Del Beccaro, a UC Berkeley alumnus himself, was the weekly guest speaker for Political Science 179 — a class that focuses on special and current topics in politics — taught by campus political science lecturer Alan Ross.
“We have pretty sizable issues,” Beccaro said, immediately at the start of class. “Everybody knows we have a struggling economy. The biggest issue of today is how we’re going to get the economy off the ground, and the Republicans have a vastly different idea than the Democrats.”
Through a PowerPoint presentation, Beccaro explained how the Republican viewpoint on the economy, and on issues like taxation in particular, differs from the Democratic one.
“Republicans don’t believe that government should choose what jobs should exist,” he said toward the end of class. “We believe in fostering the condition so you can choose your own jobs.”
However, student responses from the audience to Beccaro’s ideas were largely negative.
“I think you’re oversimplifying,” argued one student, when Beccaro used an analogy comparing economics to a hypothetical situation in which no students in a university class were allowed to receive an A grade.
In another instance, Beccaro asked, “How many of you remember Obama saying he was going to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans? How many of you think he did? Did he pass that 95 percent tax cut?”
“No, because the Republicans stopped him in the Senate,” answered a student.
Throughout his speech, Beccaro repeated that he believes politics does not equal economics, and that the two must be regarded as separate entities.
“You guys should change your dogma,” he said in the last segment of the class. “I need you to focus on economics, not politics.”
Despite his attempts, however, Beccaro’s “Why You Need to Vote Republican in 2012” PowerPoint slide — which claimed raising tax rates would reduce income and also named “ObamaCare” as unconstitutional — was met with scattered laughter in the audience, many of whom appeared to come away from the class dissatisfied by Beccaro’s presentation.
A podcast of the class is available online.