mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Is MadAnthony a liberal?

Via InstaPundit comes the "Are You a Left-Leaning Liberal" quiz - evidently, lefty blogger Atrios is convinced that lots of right-leaning bloggers with libertarian tendencies are closet liberals, so he came up with a bunch of questions to "prove" it.

Now, I do tend to be somewhat libertarian on lots of social issues, but I still consider myself far more right than libertarian. I thought it would be interesting to take the quiz, if only to outline some views on some stuff.

1)Repeal the estate tax repeal. Hell no. I'm a big believer that people should be allowed to do what they want with their money, including give it to their families when they die. I also think the point of taxes should be to raise money to perform government functions, not to produce social change or redistribute the wealth - which is exactly the point of the estate tax.

2)Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI. Another Hell No. The minimum wage can never do good. At best, it has no real effect on the market because it's below what most people are willing to pay for labor. At worst -and if you raise it - people don't get hired because they are worth less to the company that would hire them than the price floor that the goverment is requiring them to be paid. And indexing it to the CPI strikes me as a way to start a whole cycle of wage and price inflation - raise minimum wages, so companies have to raise prices to pay employees more, which drives up the CPI, which drives up the minimum wage, which drives up prices. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

3)Universal health care . Umm, ewww. Sure, healthcare is a mess. But involving the government typically makes things messier. I would rather see more "emergency insurance" where people can pay out of pocket for things like doctor's visits, but have coverage in case they need, say, a major operation. Think of it as car insurance - it's not designed to cover the stuff you know you will need - like gas or an oil change - but to be there in case you need something unexpected, like a new car after yours gets hit by a truck.

4)Increase CAFE standards. Nah. CAFE standards right now are a joke anyway - companies can borrow from future years or get high-milage vehicles classified as trucks to balance out their SUV's (for CAFE purposes, my PT Cruiser is considered a truck). But I tend to think the best way to reduce oil consumption is keep gas prices high. Besides, the faster we run out of gas, the sooner we'll have an incentive to actually use other technologies.

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.. Abortion. Now there is a can of worms. I consider myself Catholic, so of course my first thought is "no". I do think that abortion does take a life, or at least a potential life, and should at least be thought of as something serious. I think teaching abstinence isn't a bad idea, as long as other forms of birth control are also taught. I don't have a problem with the morning-after pill. As far as the abortion issue itself, I would love to see Roe v Wade overturned and the decision be left up to the states.

6)Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code. Simplify yes. Increase progressivity no. As with #1, I think the point of taxes is to raise money for things like national defense, not to distribute the wealth. I would love to see a flat tax, with the first $x of income not taxed - which wouldn't be very progressive, but would be really easy to fill out. (I would probably keep the mortgage intrest deduction, but only because I'm planning on buying a house).

7)Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination. As long as they aren't forcing their religion down people's throats, I have no problem with federal funding of faith-based programs. If they can do a better job of getting people to give up drugs or feed the hungry, then I think it's stupid to pass them up because they are motivated by God instead of man. Results, not motivation, should be the focus.

8)Reduce corporate giveaways. Sure. But also reduce taxes and regulations so that businesses can make money without having to ask the government for handouts.

9)Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan. More government. Umm, no. See #3.

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. Not something I can say I've ever thought about. Meg's responses say that it avoids the issue and wouldn't do much. If anything, I'd like to see more companies move away from pensions and towards 401k type plans like most workplaces have - they aren't dependant on how the company performs and can be taken with you when you leave.

11)Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards "more decriminalization" of drugs. Sure. I think medical marijuana should be decriminilized, and I don't have a problem with legalizing weed in general. But I'm not sure that legalizing hard drugs is going to solve all the problems of the world, either, as some libertarians tend to argue.

12)Paper ballots. If it will get people to stop claiming that the Republicans stole every election, then fine.

13)Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. More daycare. Fine. More government funding of daycare? Not so fine. And lots of "pro-family" policies tend to put a significant burden on businesses, and in the long run probably end up hurting women in the workplace.

14)Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes. Eww. No. I'd like to keep at least some of my money rather than have it go into the black hole of social security that I will most likely never see.

15) Marriage rights for all, which includes "gay marriage" and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens. Gay marriage is one of those things I have trouble getting worked up about either way. I'm not convinced that allowing it is going to lead to the legalization of man-dog marriages, nor do I think that not allowing it is the equivilant of segregation. I think the best thing to do is probably to ease into it - civil unions now, and gay marriage eventually. Foreign spouses of citizens is not an issue I've ever thought about or have any opinion on.

16) Undo the bankruptcy bill enacted by this administration. Hell no. I thought the outrage about the bankruptcy bill on the right of the blogosphere was kind of odd. I don't think making it harder to declare bankruptcy is a bad thing. When people declare bankrupcy, that money has to come from somewhere, and it comes from raising fees and intrest rates on the people who don't declare bankrucpy, who pay their bills. Making it harder to declare bankruptcy is good for the majority of consumers who never declare bankruptcy.

Considering most of these brought either a No or a maybe or a with qualifications, I'm going to say that my conservatives bonafides are intact. I think I can safely continue to describe myself as a fiscal conservative, social libertarian, who is hawkish on defense.


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