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Monday, March 2, 2009

Political Leanings

When asked to describe my political leanings, I usually say "Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal". So what does that really mean?

Fiscal Conservative
For me, this means that I believe...
  • As a former President once said, "Government is too big and spends too much money". Not all government spending is bad, but the government does get involved in things that it shouldn't. For example, the entire system of farming price supports seems way out of whack.
  • The tax system is far too complicated. Think about it: the tax code is written by lawyers (most members of Congress are current/former lawyers) and is so complicated that it can only be interpreted guessed it...lawyers.
  • The tax system acts as an incentive against investment and savings, and in fact encourages irresponsible behavior by allowing a tax deduction for borrowing (interest credit for home equity loans) but not for savings (which are taxed).
  • The tax system taxes the wrong thing: income. I am a strong believer in consumption based taxes as a replacement for taxing income. Think about it...such as system would be progressive (rich folks spend they would be taxed more; the opposite would be true for poorer folks) and would encourage more reasonable consumption.
  • Governments should be prohibited from operating in a deficit. None of us could run perpetual deficits in our home budgets, so why should the government?

Social Liberal
For me, this means that I believe...
  • The government is the only entity with the reach to ensure that everyone can "pursue life, liberty and happiness", so it should play a role in prohibiting discrimination.
  • People don't decide to be "gay" any more than they "decide" to be black, Hispanic, white, etc., so why do we not allow gay folks to marry? I'm not talking about requiring any religion to recognize a gay marriage, but the government, for purposes of property rights, should.
  • The government is the only entity with the reach to ensure that greed doesn't result in our environment being poisoned in the name of greed. Don't "believe" in Global Warming? Okay...fine with me...but do you believe that pouring crap into the air is actually GOOD for any of us? Probably not.
  • There are some things that free markets do not do well, namely those where the profit incentive actually makes things worse. No where is this more true than in health care. In our current health care system, everyone in the supply chain is clamouring to make a double digit return, from doctors, to drug makers, to insurance carriers. And people wonder why the cost of heath care increases so much? It's very reasonable for the government to take some of the profit motive out of the current system...some, but not all.

I'd like to think that, all things considered, I have a simple, live and let live attitude about things.

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