I am not economically liberal. I have to just admit it to myself. I like capitalism. I like socialism lite, which is safety nets and modest investments in education, arts and science, and reasonable regulations. But I don't buy into the class war theory. I am sorry, but I don't. We're a capitalist society, so, there's competition and that means there are winners and losers. I think it drives us to progress as a country.
Other western countries are different. Most seem to tip more toward socialism than capitalism. I am happy for them. They seem to be happy with the way they do it. But I am glad that we have struck a different balance here in the US. I am a software engineer and I work with people from all over the world and that's because they can't get software engineering jobs in their own countries. There are real trade offs that happen when you find your balance between socialism and capitalism.
I was a foster child for 6 years and my mother in law in is a home with 24/7 care that is paid for by our safety net, so, I am a dyed in the wool supporter of the safety net. I live in a state with some of the strongest regulations on private health insurance in the country, but we're still paying off thousands of dollars of health care costs that our insurance would have to pay if Obamacare had already been the law of the land 5 years ago. My wife gets grants for college that pay her tuition and she's working toward being a college professor, because she wants to make a difference as a teacher. I believe in investing in education. It's investing in the quality of life of the people of this country.
It might sound by what I have been saying that I am an economic liberal, but I call myself economically moderate, because I don't consider those things to be liberal. I consider them to be middle of the road, because people from left to right want those things. Maybe they started as liberal ideas, but they are mainstream now. Medicare is mainstream. Student loans are mainstream. Banning the denial of health care coverage due to pre-existing conditions is mainstream. I am pretty mainstream when it comes to economics. Even if that lands me left of of center, which is where I think mainstream actually does land in this country.
But, I don't believe in the class war. I don't believe the rich are conspiring against the poor or the middle class. We are a capitalistic society and they are competing to win. I've seen Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story and he makes a compelling argument against capitalism, but it's not enough of an argument to win me over. Michael is a great person. A hero in my judgment. But I don't agree with him on this one. I agree with him on Sicko, but I like capitalism.
Now, I bank at a credit union. I can't stand national banks. And I get royalties and profit sharing in the jobs I work and I do not believe that it's morally fair to fuck over your employees by cutting them out of the profits. I think it's greedy. But I am not going to ever be okay with nationalizing banks or forcing businesses to pay out profits to their employees or limit the profits of share holders or business owners.
Lastly, I worked a lot of low paying service jobs before I stumbled into software engineering. I sympathize with anyone who had managed to get themselves stuck in a service job. It sucks. But I do not believe that no/low skill jobs should pay as much as a job that requires high end skills. I'm sorry, but I filled up buckets of popcorn at a theater and I did not deserve a living wage for that work. It's not that hard of a job to do. For a kid not used to working, yes, it was tough. But it's NOTHING compared to programming a physics simulation.
I am proud to live in a state with the HIGHEST minimum wage in the country and I would like to see it about 50% higher, but anymore than that and you ARE over paying for the work being done. That's my opinion. And I did not support the strike at fast food restaurants earlier this year. I feel bad for the people who have raised families working at a fast food restaurant, but I feel bad that they never had the ambition or wisdom to get a better job if they were going to have kids. I waited to have kids until I could afford to raise them on more than minimum wage. That's just life planning 101.
And that is what keeps me from being a liberal on economics. I don't think society should make up the slack for life choices that keep people from economic prosperity. I am sure that is not how any liberal would define being liberal on economics, but that is how I see it. I see people talking about prosperity as if they are entitled to it. I don't believe that people are entitled to economic prosperity. I just don't. I think it's something everyone has to achieve for themselves and teach their children how to achieve for themselves. And while we need safety nets and investments and regulations, I believe we need competition. I think it's good for the human spirit.
7:34 PM PT: I should add that while I don't believe in a class war between the rich and middle class and poor, I DO believe in a class war between white males and women and minorities. THAT class war is real.