May 14, 2006

Am I a lib?

Here is the Atrios/Drum "are you a liberal?" test. It's mildly interesting; here are my thoughts. But for me the elephant in this room is: What are the principles that underlie these positions? What's the "theory" on which they are based? What are the GOALS? That's what we are never going to hear from our "liberal" friends. They don't dare.

1) Repeal the estate tax repeal: The estate tax is an all-around bad idea. Liberals should be against it too, For instance, the #1 reason family businesses sell out to big corporations is...the estate tax. (An idea liberals should be thinking of is to switch to an inheritance tax, that kicks in above a certain amount, say $10m. A billionaire would have to give his money to 1000 people to avoid the tax. That would encourage the break-up of big fortunes into many small fortunes, which would benefit (I would think) society.)

2) Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI. No. The minimum wage does not help people escape from poverty, which would be its only justification.

3) Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one). The goal we should be aiming for is some sort of universal HSA's, so people are spending their own money on health care, thus applying the intelligence of the whole population to keeping costs down and results up. Perhaps with mandatory contributions by all, so that people would build up their HSA investments by the time they get old and really need them.

4) Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation. I'm not interested in the question this morning. Some other time perhaps. anybody want to comment?

5) Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice: In other words, reflexively attack traditional morality, the "culture of life," and the teachings of the Church, so we too can enjoy the success and freedom and fertility of the EU.

6) Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code: The best thing would be a regressive tax. That won't happen, so a flat tax would be next-best. Low income brackets essentially pay no income tax now, which is a bad idea. Everyone who earns anything should pay at least a little tax, so they feel some inclination to vote for responsible government.

7) Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination: That's just another form of religious discrimination, in favor of the religion called secularism. We should be discriminating in favor of Judeo-Christian faiths, which are, I think, the underlying source of all our national strengths.

8) Reduce corporate giveaways: Too vague a question. The goal should be to support "creative destruction," the rise of new businesses to compete with older ones.

9) Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan: Madness. The big plus of the drug plan is how it gives people choice, and encourages competition. Which has already lowered costs well below what was expected. (Though the bill is still going to be very big.)

10) Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions: The assumptions that underly this are all wrong. They are holdovers from the "Industrial Age," expecting workers to spend a lifetime at one big corporation. They assume stability in an age of rapid change. Our goal should be to replace ALL "defined benefit" plans (including SS) with "defined contribution" plans.

11) Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards "more decriminalization" of drugs, though the details complicated there too: There's no good way out of the mess we are in with these issues, and I have no strong position. Will the "libertarian" way be more or less destructive than the drug war? I suspect more.

12) Paper ballots: No opinion, and it's not a liberal/conservative issue anyway. Whether to crack down on fraud by requiring ID's to vote would be a more interesting litmus.

13) Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter: I bet those "details" are really: "How do we do this in a way that will help destroy religion and atomize people and make them dependent on government."

14) Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes. Sure... if we also privatize FICA so that people can control their own desinies without dependence on government.

15) Marriage rights for all, which includes "gay marriage" and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens. Marriage is not a "right," it is an awesome responsibility and privilege. And it is one of the main foundations of the health of our society. Even gays should be supporting traditional families, if they care about the future (which most don't seem to do). Even an atheist government should, for purely practical reasons, buttress and support traditional marriage, including support for religious faith. We are seeing the result of taking the opposite path in Europe, and it's not pretty, folks.

Posted by John Weidner at May 14, 2006 7:30 AM
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