Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Understanding Liberal Democrats

I have several good friends who believe in liberal politics - and I fail to understand why. To me, with my vague understanding of liberalism, they are searching for a perpetual motion machine - yet it's been proven that there is no such thing and never will be. So what are they really expecting from their liberal politics?

An off the cuff answer is that liberals are looking for a free lunch, and like perpetual motion, it just can't happen.

Tax payers send money to the government. The government deducts their expenses and then sends the money back to the people to pay for projects and programs the government thinks the people need. We know from experience that a group that sets it's own pay and benefits will to expand. The cost of adding staff is free to the seated politicians and allows them to reduce their work by delegating it. The overall result increases the size and costs of government. To pay for these additional costs, tax payers like you and me  must pay more to the government.

It is an endless cycle - but liberal political schemes do have merit.  There are very good  reasons to apply liberalism in some situations.  When a Conservative or Libertarian lists them, the list is usually short because they believe that free enterprise and free markets (the key stones of capitalism) can more effectively satisfy most needs.

It is liberalism however, that better finances and manages certain key aspects of our nation. Our citizens agree that every person in America should have fundamental health care, should not go hungry, and should have a decent roof over their head. Our citizens also agree that every citizen should be protected from harm. They agree that our government should print and control our money supply, and control and guarantee the products of the pharmaceutical industry and the interstate highway system. Our citizens also agree that the government should establish national legal, medical, and food supply standards. There may be a few more, but not many, and most of them are described in our Constitution and other founding documents. Surveys indicate that most Americans want their government to follow the intent of the Constitution. 

It seems to me that this is the point that separates liberals from conservatives and libertarians. 

The designations of Democrat vs Republican are in my mind nearly meaningless (if not obsolete). The distinction would be better described as "Conservative Republican" vs. "Liberal Democrat".  In my mind "Libertarians" tend to be the far right wing of the Conservative Republicans, and "Ultra-Liberals" tend to be the far left wing of the Democrats party.

Now let us get back to the "free lunch" or perpetual motion idea. Since the Presidency of F.D.R. our national government has created entitlements, particularly at time when the Lberal Democrats were in power and the national economy faltered. F.D.R. created simulus money for the economy, increased welfare to the poor, developed Social Security as an aid to retirement, and created government paid jobs to reduce unemployment. He borrowed heavily on the treasury, and advanced the notion that deficit spending would not cause a problem later. These political management tools eventually became expected. It was entirely normal that our present Liberal Democratic administration should follow these lines. After over 50 years with entitlements in place, many Americans now believe they are guaranteed.

The problem is that most of these programs are failures. Their government  management  uniformly resulted in bankruptcy. The following efforts have failed to pay for themselves and are currently broke: Social Security / Medicare / Medicaid  / The Postal System / Amtrak / The Federal Reserve / The Federal Prison System. . . . .and others.

"THESE are the people Liberal Democrats want to run a America's proposed national health care system? 

More later . . .

1 comment:

Rain said...

Not surprisingly, I see this quite differently. I think liberals are the ones who expect to pay for what they want. Liberals, the ones I know, wanted taxes raised including on themselves, to pay for the Iraq war. If we are going to do it, do it right and pay for it. We are the ones who want to see the veterans receive good health care for the problems they suffer as a result of the war and quit borrowing to carry out those promises. Most liberals I know don't borrow a lot and therefore expect the government to also be responsible.

We do believe in government programs to improve education, to insure business follows environmental regulations, and so forth but we want to pay for it.

Furthermore, most liberals I know don't get anything from the government unless you count SS and Medicare. Otherwise they pay their own way and expect others to do likewise. What liberals don't believe in is voodoo economics where you tax less and get more (didn't work in Reagan's era either). We also believe in staying out of other people's moral decisions unless they hurt someone else.

What I'd like to know is what you think conservatives stand for today? They want a war but don't want taxes to pay for it. They cut taxes on the richest and expected it to help the economy while they didn't cut spending. We suffer the results. To me conservatives today favor the big business no matter what it is. Their political leaders talk a good show about morality but a lot of them don't live it.

What is a conservative supposed to do about the poor in this country today? What would they do about food stamps? How about medicare and Social Security? When so many citizens have no health care but the insurance companies are more profitable than any other industry, what would a conservative do about it? How about these wars? Are they conservative?

If the terms have lost their meaning and possibly they have, I'd like to know what being a conservative really means. They talk patriotism while they gut our bill of rights. They talk against gay marriage while they are trying to pay off their mistress to keep her quiet. It's been quite a season to watch from a liberal perspective.