Thursday, September 12, 2013

Liberal Myths

In 2008, I was weary of war, I was very upset about our economy, I was irritated about the Vice President's company doing the rebuilding of Iraq, I felt that the United States government had abandoned the citizens of the United States to help Wall Street, huge corporations and foreign interests. I was flabbergasted by John McCain's comment that Americans making $225,000 a year were middle class--it seemed that he was out of touch with me and my family, who live on about half of that amount.

I had come of age during the Clinton Administration and I admit, I liked Clinton.  Things were good during Clinton, no wars, unemployment was low, we had a federal surplus.  I identified as a liberal.  I was upset about the growing deficit under Bush Administration.  Obama offered change and hope and I, like many Americans, embraced that.  Over the years, I have become disillusioned by Obama (I didn't like the way he handled issues with Syria among other things) and I have found that Chris Christie, a conservative, has been a great elected official who delivered on promises and has done many good things for New Jersey, the state where I live.

I am a registered Independent now, but I would still say I am a liberal because I believe in Civil Rights, equality for women and all people regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.  I don't want government to tell people what to do any more than I want churches to tell people what to do or not do - I think a lot of things are best left up to the individual.

The thing that drives me nuts are all of these Myths that conservatives hold about liberals.

Myth #1:  Liberals believe in wealth redistribution.

It is a fact that during the Industrial Revolution, factory workers were making very little money and working in very dangerous conditions while factory owners were making a lot of money and living in very lavish conditions.  Henry Ford changed that when he began paying his workers enough money so that they could afford to buy his cars.  His workers bought his automobiles and he sold more and more automobiles and the economy flourished.  Liberals believe in paying workers enough money so that they can purchase goods and services to keep the economy going.   Liberals oppose corporate owners and CEOs salaries increasing faster or not proportionate to workers' salaries because if workers' salaries do not increase with inflation workers can not afford to support the economy.

Myth #2:  Liberals do not believe in hard work.

When Ashton Kutcher delivered his speech at the Teen Choice Awards, conservatives jumped on it and said he was separating from liberals because he was talking about working hard and not being above any job he ever had.  Liberals believe in working hard.  My husband works very hard.  My father worked very hard.  My Grandpa worked very hard.  The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals believe workers should be PAID for working very hard.  Liberals believe that the plumber and the electrician and the builder and the guy who cuts the trees off of you power lines when your power is out after a storm are important and should be paid enough to own a modest home, save for retirement, go on vacation and do other things to support the economy.

Myth #3: Liberals believe corporate owners and CEOs should be paid the same as workers.

Liberals have no problem with corporate owners and CEOs making more money than workers, their issue is in the PROPORTION of money owners and CEOs make.  Owners and CEOs are making decisions and taking risks and they should be compensated, but it should be in proportion to workers' salaries so that workers can support the economy.

Myth #4: Liberals can't be capitalists.

Capitalism makes sense.  Why would anyone not believe in it?  Chris Christie, a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, took jabs at Bruce for making more money than the band and making money on t-shirts and other "brand" propaganda and said, "he's not a liberal, he's really a capitalist".

You can be both a liberal and a capitalist.  You can support the common man, civil rights, the plight of the working poor, etc. and also realize that you have a message to get out or a good or service to sell and that you are making decisions and should be compensated for that.  Yes, making money on your "brand" is capitalism but just because you are making money doesn't mean you can't fight for a liberal cause, such as Civil Rights or better wages for the working poor.

Myth #5:

The thing I personally have the biggest issue with is our health care system.  I understand that one of the things that makes America great is our freedoms and liberties and that capitalism is part of that.  Health insurance companies make money, they are capitalizing on health care.  Personally, I think a free market health care system is better than what we have now, but because of the many advances and in some ways I can not help but feel extremely inflated cost of health care, it's frightening not to have health insurance if a disaster would strike - and now our government has made it illegal not to have health insurance.  But what really frightens me is that if you get really sick, you could lose EVERYTHING--your home, your life savings, EVERYTHING.  If you get really sick and you can't work, you will lose your health coverage, quickly go through savings and be unable to pay your bills.  I struggle with this a lot.