Thursday, August 24, 2006

Charles - Not without an Opinion

I have mostly been glossing over or past political issues other than those I feel relate to the goal of abolishing partisan politics. This has been by design as I felt that was more important than my personal political views on various other subjects. I am, however, not without such opinions and will periodically put those ideas out, as well, prefaced in the title with my name so it can easily be distinguished from the main goal of this blog.

To give you an idea of my political opinions and their history, I grew up in a town (city?) that was and still is rather conservative. The town is also a bit on the strange side as it has one of the highest number of graduate degrees (mainly Ph.D.) per capita. As a result, our schools were well funded and I grew up thinking it was normal to go to college and eventually end up getting either a Master's or Ph.D. My childhood exposure can be summed up as: well-educated, republican, Christian, sheltered. (Every one of my friends referred to our town as "The Bubble.")

Here is concise way of looking at my political views: The federal government should stay out of everything for which I can provide myself or can be provided by the Free Market. I want as small of a government as possible (that goes for State, as well). Things the federal government should provide: defense, foreign policy/trade administration, interstate trade monitoring, and various other trade monitors (i.e. FDA, FTC, etc.). Things the state/local governments should provide: education (but not to the exclusion of businesses that which to donate large sums of money), emergency services, various infrastructure requirements.

Guess what? This doesn't mean that all of my views end up conservative. Watch:

Here are a smattering of some of my more conservative viewpoints (what I view as "traditionally Republican"):
  • Minimum Wage - There is no point in increasing the minimum wage. Sorry, but it just isn't going to solve any long-term problem. Minimum wage is paid at places that serve the most basic services to us consumers (i.e. grocery stores, restaurants, etc.). If those companies are forced to pay higher wages, do you think they'll just let it eat into their profits? No - they will pass the loss on to the consumer, driving up the price of all of those basic commodities. So, those people trying to live on minimum wage will still have trouble making ends meet because the basic cost of living will have risen more or less in pace with their "raise." Economists have a term for this: Inflation.
  • Health Care - I do not want this country to ever provide "universal health care." Socialized medicine doesn't work in other countries (ask Canada - the rich there are trying to purchase more health care and being thwarted by the government), so why would it work here? I also don't feel like becoming a socialist country like most of central Europe. Medicare and Medicaid are disasters - creating an even larger program would be worse. What will work is to make some real reforms on medical malpractice and other tort reform. How does this work? Malpractice insurance and the cost of "covering one's behind" with extra tests are the major reasons that medical costs continue to soar. Fix those and it may actually be affordable.
  • Social Security - I don't trust it, don't expect it to be there when I retire, and I really would prefer to do away with this altogether (or allow me to opt out) so that I can take that money and invest it myself. Short of that, I would like to manage my own SS account much like I manage my (as yet non-existent) IRA.
Some of my more liberal/progressive viewpoints:
  • Morality - Here I'll lump abortion, gay marriage, right-to-die, etc. Just as I didn't want the government messing with my finances, I don't want them telling me what to do. It simply isn't their business. So long as an action does not infringe on the rights of another, the government has no reason to step in and legislate.
  • Privacy - Guess my answer here... Government keep out. I have a strict interpretation of the 4th amendment - no search and seizure without a warrant, period. This includes looking at my private conversations, monitoring my activities, and tapping my phone. Sure, I don't feel I have anything to hide but that really isn't the point. If the government feels they have a reason to put me (or anyone else) under such scrutiny, I insist they follow the constitution of our United States and get a warrant. Ironically, just a few years ago (pre-2001), Big Brother tactics like the Bush administration have been advocating would have been considered a conservative viewpoint.
Of course, those aren't the extent of my views but it gives you an idea of who I am. Now... talk amongst yourselves.

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