Acid Test for Conservatives

Now that the Fall election season is heating up we are besieged with messages from the right about the evils of government and government provided services. Social security, healthcare (current and future), and I suppose clean water and sanitation, highways, air travel to name a few small things.

But there is an irony associated with these messages — government spending it seems is evil UNLESS it is in their district. Or government healthcare is creeping socialism and is evil and must be stamped out but we won’t mention the lavish healthcare program provided for these legislators at taxpayer expense. Funny how it can be bad if it goes to anyone else but ok if applied to themselves.

No, the small detail that these things are bad but only for other people suggests we are not hearing from Conservatives but rather FAUX Conservatives. A real conservative would put themselves and their district at the head of the list to stop taking as an example to others. The legislators could buy their own healthcare policy from an independent provider and experience first hand the excitement of discovering what was covered and not — after the event. Or how much fun it is to campaign when 1/3rd of the budget that used to come from other taxpayers via the government now must be made up from local revenues.

But I don’t think this will ever happen. For centuries, perhaps millennium, the real tragedy has been a politician who retired from politics as poor as he entered. Where does all this wealth come from over and above the first rate retirement income and continued healthcare that public service provides?

And then there is the romance of trickle-down economics and deregulation — the government cuts taxes for the wealthy, relaxes the rules to enable riskier business ventures and we are all supposed to be better off. But the experience in the US with these policies starting with Regan was that while the rich got richer the masses got poorer and increasingly unemployed. And then the rich got the masses to bail them out when their finance games went sour. Doesn’t sound very capitalistic to me… somehow.

In the end it comes down to this — political posturing, especially in an election year, is merely story-telling to get elected or stay in office. But how they act shows the reality of their belief and somehow I don’t see any of them NOT excluding themselves and their constituency from the benefits (evils) of government services. That would appear to be the true acid test of their Conservative nature — and I am not encouraged.


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