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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are campaigning as “fiscal conservatives”–leaders who are responsible and serious enough to know that our country’s budget deficit is unsustainable and are therefore willing to make the hard choices necessary to get the deficit under control.
In the case of Romney and Ryan specifically, of course, the “fiscal conservative” label is a joke.
Ryan’s “fiscal conservatism” isn’t expected to balance our budget until the 2030s–and even that requires heroic growth assumptions along the way.
Romney, meanwhile, appears to want to give everyone in America an across-the-board 20% tax cut without cutting much, if anything, from government spending. So all the Romney plan will do is balloon the deficit.
(Last fall, Romney promised to give rich Americans a tax cut but make sure that the cut was “revenue neutral” by stripping away popular tax deductions. The Tax Policy centre discovered that the only way this would be possible would be for Romney to also effectively raise taxes on the poorest Americans. For obvious reasons, Romney didn’t like that, so now he seems to have backed off the idea of revenue neutrality. Romney’s web site doesn’t mention anything about eliminating deductions or otherwise plugging the massive revenue hole his 20% tax cut would create.)
In any event…
At some point, I actually would like to vote for a Presidential candidate who has the balls to really tackle our budget problem. Because, as a country, we really do have hard choices to make. And now is the time to have leaders who are actually willing to lead (read: make unpopular decisions), instead of spineless yes-men who quake at the thought of saying or doing things that most people don’t want to hear.
And given that the folks who say they will take a hard line on those sorts of fiscal decisions tend to be Republicans, I assume that to vote for such a fiscal conservative, I would probably be voting for a Republican.
And I would would be fine with that.
Except for one thing…
Thanks to the radicalization of today’s Republican party, voting for a Republican fiscal conservative would also mean supporting Republican Religious Aggressives who want to expand the scope of government to such an extent that the government will be telling me what I can and can’t think and do on certain subjective moral and cultural issues–and enforcing this legally.
And that’s a non-starter.
I always thought Republicans were the party of “small government”–the party that encouraged “freedom” and allowed Americans to make their own choices and live and let live.
And, if I’m not mistaken, the Republicans did used to be that party.
But now the Republicans have become the party of absolutely massive government–a government that goes far beyond collecting taxes and providing basic services but a government that wants to re-combine church and state (sorry, Christianity and state), restrict my freedom, and tell me how to think and what is and isn’t OK.
And there’s just no way that I’m going to support that.
I understand that some Republicans think the following things are “just wrong”:
- gay marriage (and, for that matter, homosexuality)
- abortion under any circumstances, including rape and incest
- believing in any God other than the one true God (you know the one I mean)
- teaching evolution (science) in schools
- teaching and providing birth control in schools
- and so on…
Now, to be clear, to address just one of these issues, I am not “pro-abortion.” I am pro-choice. I believe that life begins at conception (when else would it begin?) If I were ever in a situation in which I had to make a personal decision about abortion, I would have a very tough personal decision to make. And I am highly sympathetic to the emotions and beliefs of those who might not choose to have an abortion.
But the key word there is “choice.”
Even if I personally would not choose to go forward with an abortion, I would never support stripping other Americans of that choice, especially in cases of rape and incest. Because although I believe that life begins at conception, I understand that some people don’t believe that and/or that some people might, given certain circumstances, choose to terminate that early life at a point when it is not even remotely human.
And the same goes for religious choices, sexuality choices, the teaching of basic science (and religion) in schools, and other social choices.
In short, I support freedom.
The Republicans do not.
The Republicans support increasing the size and scope of government to such an extent that it strips away freedom and limits the choices Americans can make because some people believe these choices are “just wrong.”
And that’s a bummer.
Because I would like to support a true fiscal conservative at some point–our budget mess is a real problem.
But unless the Republican party returns to what it used to be, or a Democrat who is also a true fiscal conservative comes along, I fear that I am not going to be able to vote for one.
Because I just can’t support what today’s Republican Party supports:
Stripping away freedom and increasing the scope of government to the point where America won’t be America anymore.
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