Philosophy: Why am I a Liberal?

I did much soul searching before I rested my membership with the Liberals. I do not believe in an exclusive ‘right’ or ‘left’ approach to things. I believe in considering the problem, and thinking over the possible resolutions carefully, then examining whether the policy will actually do what it is intended to, and what the unintended spin off  consequences are likely to be. It seems to me that the NDP is only interested in solutions that move us West (left on maps), and the Conservatives only want solutions that take us East. If we want to arrive at any destination, sometimes we may have to go West, and sometimes East. This does not mean that we don’t know where we’re going, or that we are flip-floppers, it only means that we want to cautiously plot out the best way to get there.

I believe in responsible fiscal policy first, as it is necessary to sustain and implement other policies. It is hard to justify buying a new sports car, if we’re having trouble paying the rent.  Deficit spending increases debt, and the more money we spend on debt financing, the less money we we will have available for other things. Government debt is, in a very real sense  a tax on future generations. Eventually the debt will need to be reduced, and government will have to pay for it with revenues collected through taxation.

To further elaborate, in our households, we all know that the more debt we take on, the deeper the hole becomes, consuming more and more of our wages to sustain it. If we cannot pay it off, and make minimum payments, it is harder to find money to do things we want, because we have already borrowed money from the future that we have not yet made. If the economy crashes, and we lose our job, we may well have to make tough choices and cut expenses on things we want (like the cable service, maybe) in order to sustain the things we need. I think government follows the same logic, but debt reduction has be done carefully. If we want to be able to sustain and implement fairer social policy, we need to make sure that we also reduce the nation’s debt burden so that the programs can be sustained. We need to be prepared for things that can’t be predicted.

I believe in social policy that puts an emphasis on ensuring equality of opportunity and promotes helping people develop the tools they need to be responsible for themselves. Those in unfortunate situations (like the disabled) deserve more compassion and shouldn’t have to struggle the way many do. In order to do this though, priorities need to be set, and I think that governments have often made the wrong priorities, or made too many.

To sum it up, I believe in responsible fiscal policy that promotes economic growth as well as progressive social policy, but the two need to complement each other. Only Liberals seem capable of striking this balance, as they don’t seem as ideologically driven as the other  parties. They are willing to move east and west to get where they want to go.

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