In a recent Facebook discussion, a (Iiberal) commenter asked me how I would address certain issues or public policy methods that liberals find unassailable. Here you go.
- Do you support heavily subsidized daycare?
- Do you support a $15 minimum wage?
- Do you support universal healthcare?
- Do you support comprehensive sexual education?
It is probably more important to ask which philosophies of government support these things. I also work from balanced, prioritized principles first, so I’d have to think about each.
1. Subsidized daycare
In general, I am for putting responsibility where it goes. The father is the head of the home and should be the primary provider. If the father is absent, we should try to fix that. Second, the nuclear family should be supported by the mother, and we should support her in becoming self-sufficient. Third, the extended family should care. We should support that, perhaps through incentives for helping family.
Conservatively speaking, I would support the family and extended family by offering the ability to keep their own wages through lowering their taxes for approved activities – so we are not redistributing money, but allowing people to work for themselves and keep government OUT of their lives and from taking their money.
So for me, all subsidies would be tax breaks, not redistribution.
Next, if you want to redistribute money, I would allow for it and push for it to be at the local level, not the federal. Let each community or state decide if they want to attempt to prioritize and pay for such things in an effort to better their state. I think supporting the nuclear family, as important as it is, is not part of the constitutional federal mandate. “Promote the general welfare” does not mean provide, it means set up the laws to promote self-reliance and liberty from the government, as well as freedom from abuse by private entities (monopolies, illegal activities, dangerous work or care conditions).
2. Minimum Wage
Minimum wage is a tough call, such meddling in the economy by the government often has unintended consequences, like the closing of marginal businesses (which might include most restaurants), the loss of jobs and an increase in automation (which is becoming cost effective even at lower wages), and a slowdown in the creation of or investment in new businesses which employ most of us.
So in general, I don’t think it is helpful. However, it is disturbing that people can’t make a living wage, but in expensive cities, even the middle class can’t afford housing (which is why I just left California). But I don’t think minimum wage is the best solution. I think there must be a better way. Again, maybe TAX BREAKS for businesses that pay more. Reducing government size and taxes seems to me to best support liberty and prosperity and industry.
3. Universal Healthcare
Again, when the individual has personal responsibility (for their health), they should be incentivized to take that responsibility – otherwise the system spins out of control cost-wise because people have no incentive to not be lazy.
I think some federal minimum healthcare coverage might be worth trying, but since people all want the luxuries of maximal care, I think they should have to pay for that, and I think that a competitive free market of healthcare solutions can keep prices down and quality high.
The government only has to be worried about enforcing some minimal regulations and redistributing the cost of minimal care. If you want more than the basics, work for it. Plan for it.
A good example are food programs like WIC or food stamps. If you want filet mignon, buy it yourself. We’ll give you a complete protein like beans and rice so you don’t die. You want more? Be self-sufficient.
Note that caring for the disabled is another story. The poor aren’t disabled in general.
4. Sex Education
Education, like healthcare, involves individual responsibility, if not family responsibility, so a fully government run education system is out of the question. We need competition, choice, liberty, and personal responsibility for heads of families.
Sex education is important, but so is financial education, and I don’t see the government teaching my kids how to balance a checking account. Sex ed is also controversial because contraception is a two edged sword, acknowledging the reality of teen desires on one hand, but also encouraging promiscuity on the other.
Also, as another prioritized principle, parents have rights over their children more than the government. As long as they are not abusing their children, the government should offer services, but not demand obedience. I think some public money is necessary for education, as long as it can be funneled into legitimate private schools like charter schools.
I think parents have the right and responsibility to teach their kids about sex, and if they don’t want their kids evangelized for gay sex, trans drag queens, abstinence, or birth control, they must have the right to pull their kids out. I certainly do NOT think the government has the right to force education on anyone. Only offer it.
And I would not want to pay taxes for government controlled federal education or sex ed.
What do you think of the principles and priorities I’ve mentioned? Where do you think these approaches are weak or unethical? How big is your definition of what the federal government should collect your money for?