Conservatives vs. Liberals

A few election cycles ago, Conservatives tried to turn “liberal” into a dirty word. They spat it out in a negative light over and over. And Democrats took the bait.

Suddenly, no Democrat wanted to be called a liberal. By avoiding the label, they reinforced the Right’s claim. And “liberal” became a dirty word in politics.

But what does liberal mean? It means generous. Is being generous a bad thing? Not according to Jesus. Remember the parable of the widow’s mite? It was a small offering in monetary terms… but it was a big chunk of this poor woman’s savings.

Or the parable of the prodigal son. When the foolish son returned to his family, the father killed the “fatted calf” – feast food – to welcome his errant son home.

Giving freely was kind of Jesus’ thing. Which makes it seem odd the political Right claims Jesus as their own. Because…

Jesus Condemned the Religious Right Over and Over

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He criticized the Pharisees – the Religious Right of his day. And he often broke bread with the poor and sinners.

Fast-forward 2,000 years, and who advocates for the poor? Mostly liberals. Programs to help prisoners re-integrate into society? Mostly run by liberals.

On the other hand, who fights against universal health care? Conservatives. In spite of claiming to be “pro-life.” Which also makes the Right’s support of the death penalty seem odd. You can add a few other choices to that list, too.

If you’re pro-life, why would you oppose the SNAP program, which feeds poor children? Why would you oppose a minimum wage that brought the poorest Americans out of poverty? Why would you oppose universal health care.?

If you’re pro-life… all of these programs preserve lives. Fighting them tooth and nail makes no sense.

Unless you’re not really pro-life.

Today’s Conservatives Aren’t… Conservative

To conserve means to save for the future. This is something political Conservatives don’t have built into their DNA.

Take climate change as an example. More than 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is driving rapid climate change. And that change is a catastrophe.

Ice caps are melting… and low-lying nations are threatened with extinction. Super-storms are becoming more common. And the growth cycle of plants is changing. Bumblebees may disappear – along with many other species.

Yet Conservatives in the U.S. cling to the tiny percentage of scientists – mostly on corporate payrolls – who dispute climate science. And they push for continued use of fossil fuels.

In spite of our quickly diminishing supply of these fuels.

“Conservatives” aren’t trying to conserve energy sources. Instead, they back over-use of limited resources. There’s nothing conservative about that.

These “conservatives” also aren’t trying to conserve states and nations facing obliteration by the over-use of fossil fuels.

According to worldatlas(dot)com, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are among the countries most threatened by climate change.

In the U.S., Florida – with a highest point of just 345 feet above sea level – faces catastrophic flooding as sea levels rise.

Yet, Conservatives – who supposedly want to preserve the status quo – are fine with most of southern Florida disappearing beneath the waves.

That includes Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s multi-million-dollar social club. Which is barely at sea level already.

The Accurate Name for Modern “Conservatives”

So, todays conservatives actually favor massive climate change… and the economic disaster that would follow. All for short-term economic gain.

Are they pro-life? Only before birth. Do they care about the environment? Not if it costs them money. Are they concerned for their grandchildren’s future?  Not based on their choices.

Because today’s Conservatives show no concern beyond themselves.

To conserve means to save for the future. Which makes it clear these folks aren’t really conservative. So, from now on, we have to use different labels.

“Liberal” is no longer a dirty word. It means giving generously. Which is a concept Jesus promoted.

But “conservative” doesn’t describe today’s political right. They aren’t trying to save for the future. But there is a word that accurately describes these people.

We can still call Liberals “liberal.” And they can hold their heads up, proud to be generous to others. But, from now on, we have to call today’s conservatives what they really are… the Greedies.

How the Democrats Became the Conservative Party

My dad was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative. I don’t think he ever voted for a Democrat. And he certainly didn’t speak well of them. “Tax-and-spend liberals” he called them… echoing the common Republican line of his day.

Tax-and-spend liberals were behind welfare, foreign aid, and entitlement programs. They picked his pocket every payday to enrich foreigners and people too lazy to work. He had a family to support, and he worked hard, dammit. Why should he have to pay for everybody else?

Dad was the model of the pro-military, law-and-order, small government Republican. And he seethed every time the liberals invented another way to raise his taxes.

But, like so many conservatives, my dad was a man of two minds. It all started when he retired.

Everybody Hates Taxes… Till the Money Goes Their Way

With the Tea Party, came the rise of the lowest common denominator. President Obama once said, “I got a letter the other day from a woman. She said, ‘I don’t want government-run health care. I don’t want socialized medicine. And don’t touch my Medicare.’”

The Huffington Post reports scenes like this all across America. Even conservative economist Arthur Laffer can’t make the connection.

“If you like the post office and the Department of Motor Vehicles,” Laffer once told CNN, “and you think they’re run well, just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government.”

The joke, of course, is that Medicare and Medicaid are government programs. Successful ones.

Like the Tea Partiers, my dad became a staunch defender of Medicare once he’d retired. Social Security? It went from profane to sacred the day after he stopped working.

Conservative farmers have no problem taking Uncle Sam’s subsidies. Giant corporations take every tax break the U.S. offers. Some companies – with billions in profits – pay no federal income tax at all.

In fact, CBS News reported 18 profitable companies managed to avoid paying federal income taxes for eight years (2008 – 2015). These companies included International Paper, General Electric, Priceline.com, and more.

These tax breaks are essentially government subsidies. And they helped retail giant Amazon.com avoid paying federal income taxes in 2017 and 2018.

Even Donald Trump himself once claimed taking advantage of tax breaks proved he’s “smart.” He thinks government money is okay… as long as it’s headed his way.

So what’s the bottom line here? Conservatives aren’t against government handouts. As long as they’re the ones on the receiving end. Even if these handouts drive up the deficit.

Need proof? According to Newsweek, only 4.3% (That’s 0.043.) of working Americans saw a benefit from the Trump tax cuts. In other words, just 4 out of every 100 workers saw some money.

Companies spent 37 times more on stock buybacks than on raises or bonuses for workers. For every dollar that went to workers, $37 dollars benefitted stockholders.

More than $2 trillion of those dollars will be borrowed. And since the rich and big corporations get almost all the tax breaks, guess who’s getting the bill? That’s right: The average American.

Now, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin claimed Trump’s tax cuts would pay for themselves. But an analysis by his own Treasury Dept. disagrees. Treasury estimates the Trump tax cuts will cost $2.3 trillion over ten years.

Trump is borrowing $2.3 trillion dollars, handing it over to his cronies, and sticking you with the payments! (Plus interest!)

Meet the Real Conservatives

The Republicans call themselves conservatives… but they now favor deficit spending at unheard-of levels.

Maybe it’s time to take another look at those tax-and-spend liberals. Because they have the real conservative financial plan. “Tax-and-spend” means raising revenue to pay for programs.

The Right invented “tax-and-spend” as an insult. But it’s really just a negative way to say “pay-as-you-go.” Which – as any true fiscal conservative can tell you – is the best way to avoid crushing debt.

Republicans want to cut taxes on corporations – even though many already avoid federal income taxes. Then the GOP – the supposed party of small government – wants to crank up spending…

  • On defense. Even though we already spend more than the next seven national defense budgets combined.
  • On prisons. The Land of the Free has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We throw our citizens in jail at 6 times the rate in Britain.
  • On a wall. Most undocumented immigrants arrive legally and simply over-stay their visas. Most drugs enter the U.S. through ports of entry. Besides, walls haven’t worked well since the invention of the ladder.

You can’t cut taxes and raise spending. That just racks up debt for the next generation.

Trump is adding trillions to the crushing debt our children will have to bear. All for the benefit of the rich. Today’s so-called “conservatives” aren’t conservative at all. They’re just plain greedy.

Let’s face it: If you’re really a fiscal conservative, you should be voting Democrat.

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