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A Moral Defense of Liberal Ideologies

A Moral Defense of Liberal Ideologies

One of the more common mistakes that pervade the American cultural dialogue is the idea that secular ideologies can be simplified to a simple decision between right or wrong. The truth however, is that our beliefs on economics, education, government, etc. are a culmination of complex experiences defined by nurtured growth and personal exploration. One’s experience is the lens through which they engender bias, prejudice, and most powerfully, perspective. Learning to value perspectives that lean to the right or left of one’s own is a necessary component to the type of conversation that incorporates truths that no one person can learn in the, at times, linear lives we lead. Devaluing someone’s perspective, is to discredit their experience, which is to discredit their humanity. Bigotry. It is simply the intolerance of others who have different perspectives, and it has all but permeated American culture.

It is hard to imagine a world in which people with distinctly varying socio-economic backgrounds share all the same values; however, it is not so hard to imagine a world where people maintain a mutual respect for one another and see the value in working together to achieve responsible solutions. Unfortunately, our moral self-indulgence has precluded us from compromise and abandoned us to our quarreling devices. A scarce truth: we can pursue mutual respect for opposing ideologies while rejecting a position of moral relativism. Disagreeing with someone does not demand your indoctrination of them. It actually preserves a guarantee that our society does and should encourage free thought and expression of one’s beliefs.

Conservative ideologies have long encapsulated a support base who’s undying commitment to the Republican Party stems from a desire to cling to moral principles. In 1979, Jerry Falwell Sr. so cleverly termed this community of primarily Christian Republicans as the Moral Majority. The antithesis of such implies that the opposing party is immoral or maybe even amoral. This messaging effectively convinced many Christians that their faith based values could only be realized in the Republican party. Ironically this “Moral Majority” politicized and spent millions discrediting the faith of the Democratic Candidate Jimmy Carter. In 1980 Carter’s outwardly expressed faith posed a threat of usurping the Christian vote from Republican contender Ronald Reagan whose multiple divorces and less apparent faith provided somewhat of a barrier between his moral constituency. The Moral Majority succeeded in assisting Reagan’s election victory and continued to effectively sway the voting habits of even those whose interests are not achieved by the Republican party.

The following seeks to invalidate the notion that a moral majority exists within a political party. Morals do not always equate to methodology. A moral defense exists for both Conservative and Liberal parties alike. I happen to believe at this point in history, the latter is more effective; but of course, this is merely my perspective. The goal of this essay is not to be right, but simply to categorically articulate my liberal defense for just a few major political themes. My hope is to give language and affirmation to those who fear values and affiliation with liberal ideologies may be mutually exclusive. They are not.

Marriage

In the past, the marital inclusion of same-sex partners has been a non-starter for voters on both sides of this argument. While in June of 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that state-level bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, many voters are hoping to see this decision reversed with the appointment of conservative justices to SCOTUS. Proponents of traditional marriage (who define such as between one man and one woman) argue that its inception is biblical and defined by God. What these proponents do not explain is why their advocacy of traditional marriage seeks only to preclude same-sex partners. Why is that which is biblically defined extended to non-Christians? Two non-Christians would not be able to enter a union under the God of the bible, yet traditionalists have never made similar cases against this form of non-traditional marriage. Why are other biblical parameters for marriage such as divorce not politicized? Biblical doctrine for divorce says that marriage is a covenant, never to be broken with the exception of sexual immorality. Scripture also prohibits remarrying after divorce, citing it as adultery. Proponents of traditional marriage as defined by scripture do not advocate to make divorce and re-marrying after divorce illegal. This is because these proponents understand that marriage recognized by the state in our modern era is a legal transaction and not a biblical one. The obsession with gay marriage however, is a peculiar one.

Illegalizing gay marriage has little impact on the outward expression of a gay partnerships in American society. The only thing that marriage laws exclude gay couples from, are basic rights and protections not allowed under civil union agreements. Whether or not you agree with someone’s right to get married (which should not matter, as what two consenting adults choose to do with their love is their own personal choice), there were 600 State and nearly 1,100 Federal rights denied to same-sex couples who were previously unable to get married. These rights that effect everything from health, tax, financial, and many other benefits, are a constitutional guarantee to every person. Just consider the fact that denying someone the right to marry does not affect the external choices they make that provoke disagreement. For decades, gay partners have been able to wear rings, hold hands, have sex, live together, share bank accounts, have weddings, etc. Denying legal marriage status affects their ability to visit a loved one in a hospital/prison, to claim next-of-kin for emergencies, receive bereavement leave for deaths, and many other spousal benefits.

Many argue that the founders of the constitution may have meant for marriage to exist only between one man and one woman, but I’m sure they had not imagined the legal benefits that would extend to marriage. Additionally, if we only interpreted this law as the founders imagined, interracial couples would still be incapable of marrying as well.

In summation, America is not a theocracy where we make things that are not articulated in the bible, illegal. Nor do we make things forbidden in holy scripture illegal. American law does not prevent married couples from getting divorced nor does it prevent unmarried couples from having sex. It should not be used to exclude same-sex couples from their basic rights (all 1,700 of them). Over a year of marriage equality, and the only thing that has changed is a sense of security for same-sex married couples.

Abortion

Norma McCorvey, whom most know by her alias, Jane Roe, filed suit against the State of Texas, citing her 9th amendment right to privacy as a defense for her right to have an abortion. The courts did not rule in her favor. Initially, she lied about being raped as she thought this would expedite her trial hearing; it did not. She came to term, giving the baby up for adoption. The case was appealed to SCOTUS who overturned the ruling, making abortion legal in all states, while only allowing some forms of restrictions. In an interesting twist, McCorvey has since renounced her actions. She is now an anti-abortion advocate, and travels the world sharing her story.

One of the most important things a conservative should understand about this topic is that being pro-choice is not the same as being pro-abortion. Abortion is not a pastime for women. It is not a decision they make cavalierly. The circumstances surrounding it are not identical nor are they easy. These truths are clearly not going to change one’s mind on the idea of abortion. They should however, demand sensitivity around the conversation. All too often, unproductive assumptions are made about the motives and dignity of women who are faced with the difficult decision. This conversation, for too long, has been overtly hostile. Anti-abortion advocates referring to pro-choice as murder and promoting haunting images of mangled fetuses only contributes to an angry dialogue, intensifying the pain of an already difficult circumstance. There are women who are traumatized by abortion, and filled with regret and pain afterwards. There are also women who go on to lead healthy and happy lives after having an abortion. Again, these are merely truths worth observing for the purpose of adding context to the conversation.

The biggest issue anti-abortion advocates have with abortion is that it harms life. Not just the life of an embryo or a fetus, but rather the life of a conceived child whose right to live is constitutionally and divinely guaranteed. The argument has come down to a debate over when human life begins. Herein lies the complexity. If the process of preventing child birth occurs when a woman takes a pregnancy pill or when a woman has an abortion, is the result of life any different? Not for the child. In either of those cases, the possibility of birth is evaded. Abortion is not optimal because of the potential impact that it has on women includes risks that are best avoided (physical and psychological), but still, liberals argue what happens with a woman’s body is her choice. Again, if 300k people have abortions this year or if those 300k people choose to use contraceptives for pregnancy prevention instead, is there an impact on how many babies are born? No. So if abortion and contraceptives alike prevent life from materializing, anti-abortion advocates must do one of two things. They must either ramp up their rhetoric and disdain for condoms and birth control pills, calling those who utilize such means murderers. Or, they must normalize their tone on the subject of abortion and work to minimize the occurrence of what most would agree is not the best case scenario for anyone.

Interestingly, the Democratic Party has been most effective in reducing the number of abortions in America, while the rates tend to soar under Republican leadership. If being pro-life means embracing policies that save a larger number of lives, then based on data, one can easily argue that pro-choice is pro-life. In a manner that can only be described as paradoxical, conservatives who reject a woman’s right to choose also reject forms of assistance that greatly reduce the likelihood of a woman having to choose.

The Hyde Amendment has prevented government funds from being allocated toward abortions for over 30 years. The only exceptions are when the pregnancy was caused by rape/incest, or the life of the mother is at risk. Still Republicans claim that public funds given to any aspect of Planned Parenthood could easily be re-routed to abortion. Some due diligence would show that this organization’s meticulous accounting provides a highly accountable trail of all funds. 97% of Planned Parenthood expenditures go to services other than abortion including STD treatment, contraception, cancer screenings, breast exams, pap tests, pregnancy tests, prenatal services, etc. Additionally, the bulk of the money planned parenthood receives from the government are paid as Medicaid and Title X reimbursements for services previously rendered. Basically, Planned Parenthood does not just receive blank checks from the government to spend on whatever they’d like. They are paid back for free and discounted services they provide to lower income citizens. Citizens who have limited resources and opportunities to receive the critical care they need.

Republicans are set on defunding Planned Parenthood. They have proved they are willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen, including stalling budget agreements. However, defunding Planned Parenthood does not reduce the abortion rate, because again, government funds cannot be spent on abortions. In areas of Texas where the state successfully defunded Planned Parenthood facilities, the pregnancy rate for women rose relatively 27%. We know this happened, because these women lost access to services that provided pregnancy prevention. When the rates in unintended pregnancy rise, abortion rises with it. While it is a woman’s right to choose, the need to choose should not be the result of stripping that woman’s access to contraception.

Democrats have led the charge on making healthcare accessible to everyone, while Republicans believe that only those who can afford it (with few exceptions) should have access to healthcare. Without insurance, a woman could be billed upwards of $30,000 to have a baby and spend one night in the hospital (without any complications). Obviously, families that cannot afford a health insurance premium cannot afford such a costly bill. It makes sense that abortions occur staggeringly less under Democratic leadership, because liberal policies encourage and enable life. Democratic President, Barack Obama, saw a 13% decrease in abortion during his tenure. Access to healthcare and family planning centers like Planned Parenthood assist women every day, reducing the likelihood for abortions.

Having an abortion is not an ideal scenario for anyone, but restricting access to this medical procedure only hurts the cause for life. The United States has the strictest anti-abortion laws of any first world country, but we are of the highest abortion rates of first world countries. We can look to countries like Egypt where abortion is illegal. In Egypt, self-induced, home, and unsafe abortions put many women at risk each year resulting in the loss of even more life. Many anti-abortion advocates also fail to realize the complexity of the scenarios which lead to abortions. Rape, incest, life of the mother, lack of access to healthcare/family planning, poor maternity laws, medical complications, poor adoption laws, and socio-economic disadvantage are just a few (extremely simplified) reasons many women choose to terminate their pregnancies. Ironically, these are all issues Democrats are notorious for addressing, which is why abortion rates decrease under their leadership.

Republicans continue to woo anti-abortion votes with rhetoric they never actually act on. It’s interesting.

All five of the Republican nominated justices led the pro-choice vote initially, and since 1972, no Republican president has ever required pro-life views as a litmus test for SCOTUS nominations. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush Sr, and Bush Jr., and now Trump are asking for the anti-abortion vote. Republicans have been in the White House for 26 years since 1972… and have failed to achieve (or seemingly attempt) to make a case against abortion to SCOTUS… but they always get the pro-life vote. And they have fallen in line to support a man who has never been a champion for the anti-abortion movement and quite casually acquiesced to the cause most recently. I wonder if the reason Republicans claim to be anti-abortion even though most of America is pro-choice, is to exploit the anti-abortion voter base as they have done continuously. Not only are these Republicans anti-abortion, they seem to be pro-everything that systemically increases the likelihood of abortion. Liberals on the other hand respect a woman’s right to choose and drastically reduce their need to.

Healthcare

20,000,000 people. This is the number of people who acquired access to healthcare as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is also the number of people who are at risk of losing the assurance of their health if Republicans get their way and overturn the ACA. Interventionist foreign policy and military spending make up a whopping 54% ($600 billion) of our federal discretionary budget. In a world where wars of attrition are no longer necessary, one would assume the modernization of international conflict would provide certain efficiencies. Those savings should materialize spending cuts that can be diverted to areas of greater need. Still, we make so light of what costs us so much, and make so much of what costs us so little.

Healthcare makes up less than 6% of discretionary spending. The ACA is on track to spend $2.6 trillion less from 2014-2019 than what we were spending before the ACA. While premiums and deductibles are up for some and complaints of not being able to keep your doctor are legitimate grievances for some. The overall cost of the ACA has greatly underwhelmed the previous health budget. Why on earth would we go back to the way things were when 20 million fewer people were insured and we were collectively spending more? Why would we go back to a time where college students might have to choose between school and health insurance? Why would we return to an age where you could be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition? Why would we return to a time several thousand people were dying preventable deaths each year simply because they did not have access to healthcare? The most legitimate case anyone should be making against the ACA is that it does not do enough. America is the only first world country in the world, where the right to health care is not an express guarantee. This is the least pro-life stance a nation can take. To disown those too poor to afford healthcare as not being worth the trouble is greatly disheartening. Loopholes for the nation’s wealthiest preserve wealth in niche segments while those in poverty literally fight for their lives.

We have money for national infrastructure, communications, postal services, military, and various programs; all of which mean very little to a person in dire need of medical treatment. Everyone who needs healthcare cannot afford it. Their quality of life is negatively impacted. Those who can afford it, do not always purchase it… so when they do need it, it increases the strain on the premiums of those who do pay.

There is no moral argument for denying someone access to healthcare. There is none. We are not doing enough. We must do more for American communities. This is a liberal belief, not a conservative one.

Climate Change

In 2016, the debate of whether or not human activity contributes to climate change is alive and well. An Oklahoma Senator walked into the U.S. Senate last year with a snowball, citing it as proof that global warming is fictional. Democrats on the other hand have chosen to side with those qualified to assess the validity of man-affected climate change, climate scientists. 97% of climate scientists affirm that there is in fact a global warming trend and that humans are primarily responsible.

The past two decades have been the hottest in the past 400 years. Carbon dioxide (human activities release about 37 billion metric tons of this stuff annually), methane, nitrous oxide, and many other greenhouse gasses from cattle farms, vehicle exhaust, factories, etc have increased the Earth’s average surface temperature. These gasses remain in our atmosphere for decades, making progress more and more difficult each year. Sea levels have risen 7 inches in the past 100 years, more than the previous two millennials combined. The IPCC has forecasted that that sea levels will continue to rise 7-23 inches by the end of the century making the 100 million people who live within 3 feet of sea level vulnerable. Artic ice is melting so quickly, scientists believe the continent will experience an ice-free summer by 2040. Montana National Glacial Park has 25 Glaciers compared 6 times as many a hundred years ago. Pollution has begun severely bleaching the coral reefs and limiting the world’s fish supply. Over a million species have become extinct as a result of interrupted ecosystems and acidic oceans.

The paradox of global warming is that it is altering the ocean’s conveyer belt which could lead to a minor ice age in Europe. Cooler areas of the earth in turn become warmer and much more vulnerable to diseases that were previously stifled by frigid temperatures.

Global warming effects many things. Nearly 20% of the global domestic output is agricultural. Droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, extinction of species that help preserve the ecosystem, and melted ice caps all increase. Countries become more vulnerable to terror as militant groups rise to fight for fertile land and strain access to agricultural goods as leverage for war. Food and water shortages have already become very problematic around the world. While many Republicans all together chuck this reality off as a hoax, Democrats are working hard to transition our world to renewable and sustainable energies. Republicans continue to fight to disincentivize clean energy investment by petitioning for greater dependence on off sure fuels. Democrats on the other hand are uniting global powers in treaties that help limit the impact global warming has on our world. There are areas of China where the sky is physically invisible. Climate change threatens the health and sustainability of a world we are supposed to tend and steward for coming generations. We cannot continue to ignore these issues.

Economics

For some time, the cool thing for Republicans and Independents to say when discussing economics is, “I am fiscally conservative.” Interestingly, the implication is that Republicans have mastered the art of economics. Unfortunately for Republicans, the numbers do not support this notion. Republicans have long supported trickle-down economic policies. Trickle-down economics is the belief that tax breaks for the wealthiest and big businesses lead to investment in more business and opportunities which trickle down to the middle and lower classes. What we actually find is that the wealthy are more likely to stockpile their earnings and their tax breaks trickle through a narrow funnel that massively increase wealth inequality in America. Liberals believe that tax cuts should should be distributed in higher proportion to the middle and lower classes. Their funds typically replenish the economy much more meaningfully. Groceries, home repairs, and various small purchases throughout the course of the year revive opportunity and at a much rapid rate. Lets review the economic impact of our previous four presidents.

Barack Obama (two terms) – Democrat

  • National debt up to $20 trillion.
  • Congress approved his 2009 stimulus package to combat the 2008 recession. GDP growth turned positive after only 6 months.
  • Bailed out auto industry saving 3 million jobs (auto industry now experiencing record breaking sales).
  • Issued $858 billion tax cuts.
  • Negotiated the World’s largest Trade agreement (TPP) and currently wrapping up the TTIP with the European Union which will be even larger.
  • Unemployment cut in half (below 5%) with 13.3 million jobs added (4th best job creator among presidents.
  • Biggest job growth in manufacturing since the 90s.
  • Long-term unemployment dropped by 614,000.
  • Reduced the national deficit by nearly by three-quarters ($1 trillion dollars, greatest reduction in history).
  • Stock market tripled. S&P 500 more than tripled.
  • Corporate profits increased by 166%.
  • Inflation at 1.9%. Less than half of the post WWII average.
  • Dow has more than doubled.
  • GDP more than quadrupled. Deficit of GDP more than quadrupled.
  • Consumer confidence more than tripled.

George W. Bush (two terms) – Republican

  • Nearly doubled unemployment to 8%.
  • Took year-over-year change in Real GDP from over +2 to under -4.
  • Wealth inequality up on the Ginni Index.
  • Poverty rate increased 2%.
  • Half of public debt by 2019 can be attributed to his policies that have continued even post-presidency (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, tax cuts for wealthy, tarp, Fannie, Freddie, etc.).
  • Tax revenue decreased nearly 5%.
  • Great recession.
  • Median incomes down 3%.
  • Debt as percent of GDP up nearly 23%.
  • Stock market down nearly 43% (worst record in history by far)

Bill Clinton (two terms) – Democrat

  • 6 Million Jobs in first two years (250k jobs a month). 22.5 million jobs in total (most new jobs ever created under a single administration).
  • Unemployment from 7.5% to 4% (lowest in 30 years).
  • Poverty rate dropped to lowest in 20 years (7 million fewer).
  • Lowest combination of unemployment/inflation in 25 years.
  • Inflation at 2.5% compared to previous administrations 4.7%.
  • Cut taxes on 15 million low income families and 90% of small businesses.
  • Largest deficit reduction plan in history ($600 billion). Deficit went down 3 years in a row (first time since Harry Truman). Handed over largest surplus ever.
  • Economic Growth at 4% compared to 2.8% during Bush-Regan years.
  • Median family income increased by $6,338.
  • Highest homeownership rate on record (67.7%).
  • Reduced government spending (as a share of of the economy) from 22% to 18% (lowest in over 40 years).

George H. Bush (one term) – Republican

  • 60% increase in stock market.
  • Unemployment increased 2%.
  • S&P up 60 points
  • 6% growth in GDP
  • 2% growth in jobs.
  • Median incomes down 6%
  • Decreased consumer confidence by nearly 30 points.
  • Increased national debt by 25%.

National Debt

The national debt is of great concern for many Americans. The debt is greatly impacted by the deficit. After the Federal government spends everything it has on the year’s expenses, whatever is left unpaid would be the amount of our deficit. In 2015 for example, the Federal government made $2.96 trillion dollars. Most of this money comes from taxes, fines, duties, and fees. The federal government is also able to make revenue selling land, capital, and by providing various services. The total cost of federal spending in 2015 was at $3.36 trillion. That leaves us with a deficit of about $400 billion. This is astoundingly lower than the trillion dollar deficits of previous years; however, until our budget experiences a surplus, the debt will continue to grow.

President Obama’s final term is expected to end at $20 Trillion, nearly double what it was when he started. Various scholars disagree on what portion of the debt President Obama has contributed. The assessment varies between less than a trillion dollars to almost $9 trillion. Both of these figures are correct depending on the reasoning. There are three ways to measure Obama’s impact on the debt.

  • Subtract the amount of debt he started with ($10.6 trillion) from the amount he’s ending with ($20 trillion). That leaves him responsible for about$ 9.4 trillion in debt. One must keep in mind that the budget for fiscal year 2009 was already established and approved by congress before Obama took office.
  • Add the deficit amount of each year Obama was responsible for the budget. This figure is closer to about $6.6 trillion.
  • Take into consideration how Obama’s policies impacted the debt. Many would argue that it it’s not fair to hold him accountable for polices and wars that were already in place and scheduled out. When considering:
    1. Tax cuts and recession impacted Federal income. -Bush Jr.
    2. Social Security and Medicare mandatory spending. -Bush Jr.
    3. Military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. -Bush Jr.
    4. Taxes and unemployment benefits. -Obama
    5. Increased military Spending. -Obama
    6. Affordable Care Act. -Obama

When using this final method, Obama’s total monetary impact on the debt comes out to roughly $983 billion. After President Bush Jr. left Obama with a $1.16 trillion deficit, the annual deficit climbed up to $1.58 trillion dollars. Obama was able to reduce the deficit by an impressive $1 trillion. It is currently almost half the amount of the deficit Bush Jr. handed over.

What is our debt composed of?

Interestingly, many are under the impression that our debt is primarily due to borrowed funds from China. This is quite far from the truth. 30% of the national debt is considered intragovernmental. This debt is tied to social security, military and government personnel retirement, Medicare and government operations. The other 70% of the national debt is considered public. A quarter of our public debt is belongs to foreign governments, the federal reserve, and state and local governments. The rest belongs to private pensions, mutual funds, treasury notes, banks, insurance companies. Often, I have found that people are surprised to hear that the vast majority of the National Debt is owed to American interests. Much of our debt can be greatly reduced with responsible social security and pension reforms.

Minimum Wage

Minimum wage is a contentious issue that seems to pit the poor and lower class against, well, everyone else. I will address the primary fears I hear people mention when discussing raising the minimum wage:

Raising the minimum wage cripples small business and puts people out of work.

This may be true, but if it is true, then why? Maybe it is because many businesses have not evolved with GDP and increased revenues. Many of these businesses have simply learned to thrive on outdated economic systems that require them to unintentionally take advantage of people in need of work. Maybe an increased minimum wage is an opportunity to re-evaluate the efficiency of these organizations so that they can adopt business models that better allocate company resources in a manner that decreases process cost while increasing the value of workers. This may help business owners pursue profit goals by relying on metrics other than wage stagnancy.

Machines replace workers.

Occasionally, you will see a meme of checkout machines in a goods store like McDonald’s with a snarky caption like, “$15/hr? I hope you like your new replacement.” If checkout machines were installed to combat minimum wage increases, maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe that McDonalds was able to lay of a couple of cashiers. However, they have invested in the industry of cyber-automation. How many jobs did that create? The company that makes those machines needs accountants, project managers, engineers, maintenance/repair workers, shippers, customer service, etc. So truly, one can easily argue that workers replaced those workers, not machines (workers who probably get paid more than cashiers, which could be better for the economy).

The cost of goods goes up to compensate.

If the cost of goods go up to compensate wage increases, than you only inflate the currency. What we know is, while this does happen, it does not happen as fast as you think. Companies cannot simply double the price of their goods because other companies with efficient processes will keep their prices low to remain competitive. Small businesses will need to reevaluate their processes in order to compete. Unfortunately, many will find requiring companies to improve their sustainability to be crueler than the idea of undervaluing a workforce. While prices will continue to increase overtime for various reasons, we have not observed reasonable minimum wage increases significantly spike the cost of goods. This is why after several years of American currency inflating, Mcdonalds still has a dollar menu. Sure, they have had to make changes to their internal processes to maintain profit margins, but that is the point.

Unfortunately, we live in an age where some companies increase the cost of goods because of lack of regulation for the mere purpose of profit. In the healthcare industry, we see the cost of life-saving drugs drastically skyrocket not because the cost of production increased but because strict patent laws allow for consumer exploitation. Those concerned with the cost of goods going up should direct their energy to those abuses with the knowledge that liberals have been very outspoken in addressing these matters; while Republicans fight for less regulation that allows for businesses to take advantage of American consumers.

The primary arguments I hear against raising the minus wage.

Get educated.

When those who are fortunate to earn more than those making minimum wage hear minimum wage workers demanding what they consider to be a livable wage, it upsets them. They think, “I’ve worked hard to get here. They should too. They should get educated if they want to earn more.” Here’s the issue with that logic. Not every educated person does well financially and not everyone can afford to be educated. Even those who are educated are not guaranteed a well-paying job. Behavior/learning disorders, and various sociological issues prevent some from being workforce competitive. Those privileged with intellectual acumen, tenacity, familial support, etc, may not be able to relate to the struggles of those whose cards in life do not allow for the type of progress that comes so easily to others. These people are content with simple living, but merely desire just that. To live making the minimum wage required to afford basic housing, food, and other nominal needs.

Those jobs are meant for high school students.

Liberal ideology does not believe it is okay to take advantage of high school students working to help their struggling families and save up for college. Regardless of whether you are a student who is saving up for something as necessary as college books or something as meaningless as a brand new iPhone, your work deserves an appropriate minimal value. The values we instill in them as a society, should remind these future leaders of the basic moral responsibility we have to our workforce. High school students should be paid a survivable wage just like anyone else. During that time of one’s life, working may be even more of a critical need than what many adults experience.

I don’t want a high school dropout making as much as me.

If you have a difficult job that requires skills and experience; your employer runs the risk of losing their workforce to easier jobs that pay just as much for less stress/work. So really, raising the minimum wage to a livable one for high school dropouts, makes those who were already earning near that wage more competitive and equitable for higher pay. The best job I have ever had in my life was working for the Vans shoe/clothing store as a 16-year old. Vans is such a popular brand that it practically sells itself. I was pretty much paid to grab shoe boxes and have fun. If I could have done that job making $15/hour, I would have quit the bank job I hated 6 years ago and gone to work for Vans. Obviously no bank, wants to lose its work force to mall stores, so my pay would have inevitably gone up.

In 1938 President Roosevelt signed minimum wage into law as a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This was at the height of the great Depression. Minimum wage was initially set $0.25 an hour, which is nearly $4.18 today and impacted close to 20% of the workforce. Raising minimum wage was one of a few levers Roosevelt pulled to more proportionately disburse wealth in America to combat and ultimately end the Great Depression.

Today, we know know that 89% of those would benefit from a minimum wage increase in America are over the age of 20 and 56% of them are women. If the minimum wage had kept up with productivity and inflation since 1968, it would be more than $26/hr today. Of course, liberals are not pushing for such a substantial increase; however it is revealing that the standards for workers compensation have stagnated and excess profits have not proportionately impacted the workforce. 600 economists, 7 of which are Nobel Prize winners have argued for raising the minimum wage. Data supports the belief that this will stimulate our economy and redistribute wealth to those who do the most to generate it. Most conservatives argue against raising the minimum wage and some argue against having a wage at all. The belief is that the free market and competition will self-regulate. Unfortunately, what you find around the world is that employers often pay as little as possible to increase organizational profit and executive salaries. Human rights abuses in the work place are the common result of no regulation. It is important to support businesses by setting guidelines that encourage them to invest reasonably in their most valuable assets, people.

Justice System

Black and Brown Americans continue to raise issues they believe immensely impact their communities. Minorities now makes up nearly 40% of the U.S. population, and these communities are using their expanding influence to hold political parties accountable for minority-related issues. Our justice system has been discovered time and time again to profoundly discriminate against minorities. Seemingly, only one party has even acknowledged it. While some individuals in the Republican party such as Rand Paul have voiced their concerns about these issues, the GOP as a whole has not made it a part of their agenda to address these issues.

Studies show us that while blacks are not much more likely to speed than whites, they are much more likely to be stopped by the police and many times more likely to be searched. While blacks are not more likely to do drugs than whites, drug related arrests are 4 times more likely on black Americans. This is concerning when considering that nearly 50% of the the imprisoned population has incurred drug-related charges. Blacks are 20% less likely to be offered a plea deal that doesn’t include jail time. Blacks are also 20% times more likely to be struck from a juror pool when their inclusion is necessary to help combat much of the recurring discrimination we see in the justice system.

Often, I hear conservatives say, “Well, don’t break the law and you won’t get arrested, or brutalized, or killed.” Many times they also deny the reality that black Americans are even racially profiled. The leading conservative candidate has recommended the integration of “Stop and Frisk,” a policy that is widely known for its use of racial profiling. Many Americans have grown weary of trying to  convince Republicans that Black Lives Matter, only to be silenced and invalidated with the lie that All Lives Matter. All lives do not matter because all too often black life devalued by officers of the law, judges, and the justice system as a whole. Liberals understand that the lives of whites in America are already valued and believe that all lives will matter once the lives of black people begin to receive equal justice when life is undeservingly stripped by officers of the law who are charged with the responsibility of service and protection.

Conservatives believe it is impossible to honor respectable police while acknowledging pervasive issues within our militarized police force that affect people of color. Often, those who raise concerns related to minority communities are shamed for making issues that are black and white… black and white. We need candidates in office who are willing to discuss the solution for these issues without feeling the need to pander to first responders. We know that most officers are good intentioned people who have a very difficult job. We also know that there is plenty of opportunity to invest in cultural sensitivity and non-fatal conflict de-escalation training. We need police officers to be recruited from within the communities they police. The officers should also reflect the diversity of the communities they police. Lack of relatability incites fear and impulsiveness on the both sides of every conflict. Liberals are interested in having a conversation that brings the black community and police together. Most conservatives choose only to support those officers fulfilling exemplary roles while ignoring the minority of officers whose actions are having a detrimental impact on public trust.

Education

Many conservative politicians push the idea that parents should be given the choice of where their children attend school. They argue this will incite competition and increase the quality of education. Sadly, conservatives continue to legislate education policy like a business and less like a standardized model. If every school is subject to the preference of parents; great schools become of highest demand and are given the authority to accept and reject whomever they choose (typically on a monetary basis). Less wealthy families are stuck with lower tier schools as options for their children. How is this any different than the way things are now?

A mixture of Federal, State, and primarily Local funding contribute to the continuity of public schools. The hardship is that Federal and State funding is not nearly enough to carry the burden of public school funding. Schools make the up difference with local tax revenue funding. This is why we see the districts that contain the nicest houses, most profitable businesses, well-paying jobs, etc with the nicest schools. These schools are able to leverage additional local expenditures to pay the best teachers, buy the nicest equipment, and expose their students to the greatest number of opportunities, expanding their potential for academic success. On the other hand, schools in the districts of poor communities struggle with overcrowded classrooms, outdated materials, program cuts, etc. It is no surprise that the students in richer communities are more likely to attend and graduate competitive colleges. Not only are they fortunate enough to have access to the type of inherited advantage every parent hopes to leave their child with, they are also given an unfair public advantage. Public services such as education should be standardized to provide high quality education to every child. This is a universal belief, but liberals achieve this more pragmatically.

College education is also an essential element to this election. Many students who want to receive a higher education and would benefit from it, are unable to afford it. They are forced with the decision of an elongated matriculation or massive student debts. Those who choose to purse their intended career paths incur several thousand dollars in debt with the hope that the return on investment will be worth it in the end. This debt unlike most other forms of debt is very difficult to manage. Liberals propose reconsolidation, forgiveness plans, and lower maximum interests to relieve the burden. The liberal platform also proposes solutions to make college much more affordable and even free in some cases to those who of lower economic standing. This investment into American education has the potential to produce an elite class of qualified professionals who are able to step into advanced roles where there is currently a significant need.

Foreign Policy

It seems the American public has a growing distrust of American military intervention. These interventions have proved to be troublesome and questionable at the least as it relates to both parties; however, both parties have a very clear record on how they are incited into military interventions.

Liberals are very sympathetic and compassionate in terms of war. This is why they are often in favor of regime changes. They believe their actions may benefit the oppressed citizens of foreign rule. Overthrowing dictators like Muammar Gaddafi is seen as an act of justice and the implication of the vacuum that creates is not always considered.

Conservatives are typically very brutish when it comes to war. Military interventions are used as a form of retaliation and fear. This is why many conservatives were calling for Obama to bomb Iran nuclear sites without significant provocation. Conservatives are typically all take and no give. Negotiating with foreign enemies is likely to escalate unnecessarily. When America implements the strictest sanctions on countries so quickly, such as Cuba and even Iran, we force these foreign powers into autonomy. They learn self-sufficiency and fade into isolation. This gives America very little negotiating space for future conflicts.

All in all, conservatives have proven to be more aggressive with war than liberals. In over 71 years of Democratic presidents, we have had 64 offensive wars 32% of the total. Over 85 years of Republican presidents we have had 81 offensive wars 40.5% of the total. Additionally, many of the offensive wars Democrat presidents have presided over, have been inherited by Republican presidents.

Partisanship

The idea that the best solution achievable is a culmination of values and ideas from various thought groups is what makes our government so great. Our system does not allow for tyrannical rule, but rather promotes the ideas of leaders from different parties who represent the American constituency coming together and compromising on laws that accomplish the most for most people. Unfortunately, as of late, conservatives have proven to be the party of obstructionism, making even a two party system seem too dysfunctional to work.

During the 2000 presidential elections, George Bush Jr. won a highly contested race. He actually lost the popular vote, to Democratic Nominee, Al Gore by over 500k votes. In 2004, Bush Jr. won another highly contested race in which the legitimacy of his Florida win along with its associated electoral votes was brought into serious question. During both of these terms, Democrats made the difficult decision to work with Bush and Republicans in congress. Of course this collaboration was not void of conflict, but the rhetoric for the most part remained professional.

After President Barack Obama’s record breaking 2008 presidential victory, in which he won by a nearly 10 million vote margin, Republicans determined to take their loss personally. Then Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner spoke quite clearly of President Obama’s agenda saying, “We’re going to do everything — and I mean everything we can do — to kill it, stop it, slow it down, whatever we can.” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell shortly followed suit saying, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” This no-compromise gridlock thinking has served to undermine and impede every democratic attempt at progress, even to the point of running the country off of the fiscal cliff (which had significant negative impact). Republicans voted to defund and overturn the Affordable Care Act over 60 times despite the American public’s overwhelming support of President Obama whose campaign ran primarily on that initiative. This type of behavior ignored the will of American voters and disqualified the Republican party from the type of respect their request for executive leadership deserves.

Conclusion

The decision between one party and the next is not a decision of right or wrong. It is merely a spectrum. I sought merely to explain a reasonable argument for liberal ideals and consequentially the Democratic Party.  Know what you believe and why you believe it, and never let anyone convince you that your reasonable support for a liberal party or candidate is immoral or amoral.

 

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