As a Conservative

  • United States Face

A version of this article was previously published in the Wausau Daily Herald.

It is a measure of the extremism sweeping America when, after many decades of being a liberal, I find I must join with other conservatives to fight the radical changes destroying my nation. The definition of conservative is: believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society. I fit this definition perfectly.

As a conservative, I wish to preserve the traditional government established by my ancestors. I oppose the radical use of a business model in government. Government should serve as it has for more than 200 years – for all, and with no thought of profit or privatization.

As a conservative, I oppose the sale of public assets paid for by my predecessors. I oppose privatizing prisons. Criminal justice should remain a public function unbiased by profit motives. Water is a human right. Public ownership of water utilities has served our communities well for decades. Highways should remain traditional public property.

As a conservative, I wish to preserve traditional public schools. They are the heart of rural communities and urban neighborhoods. Without them America will die. I oppose privatization schemes of the Walton family, the Broad family, the Devoss family, and other wealthy individuals and corporations who see our children as profit mechanisms to be exploited in private voucher schools. My grandchildren are not “customers” to be used for private gain. They are the dearest souls on earth to me and I want them in hands of traditional public school teachers harboring no ulterior motives.

As a conservative, I wish to reinstate regulations like the Glass-Steagall Act created by my ancestors after the Great Depression to limit unethical Wall Street behavior. I wish to reestablish progressive and corporate taxes encouraged under conservative Republican President Eisenhower that required the wealthy to pay their fair share. Undermining these traditional regulations and taxes caused government deficits and debts. These same regulations and taxes created jobs by ensuring the legitimate distribution of wealth necessary for robust consumer demand – the only true job creator.

As a conservative, I respect the tradition of Wall Street investing in America rather than the gambling currently plundering our states and communities. Computers did not exist when Wall Street still cared about our nation. A financial transaction tax reducing computerized high speed trading would limit the financial casino and create jobs by spreading wealth more fairly.

As a conservative, I believe the current minimum wage should equal its purchasing power in the ’60s and ’70s. Purchasing power creates jobs, not extreme wealth in the hands of hedge fund managers killing paper mills with financial gimmicks. Inflation adjusting the minimum wage (or better yet adjusting according to actual gains in productivity) would also reduce government subsidies paid to Walmart and similar low-wage corporations in the form of food stamps, housing assistance and other government services. Walmart should live by free-market principles and not depend on government aid.

As a conservative, I oppose any cuts to Social Security. This traditional earned benefit is fully funded for the next 20 years and should be made even healthier by an inflation-adjusted hike in the payroll tax cap.

As a conservative, I realize traditional defined benefit pensions protected people from the predations of Wall Street inherent in 401(k)s and other investment schemes. All Wisconsin wage earners, private and public sector, should be enrolled in the Wisconsin retirement system.

As a conservative, I feel I must fight, as my ancestors did after the Great Depression, against the extreme concentration of wealth destroying my country. Any sense of traditional democracy is being lost to the gross inequality that now exists in America. We must amend the Constitution to overturn the radical Supreme Court “Citizens United” decision viewing corporations as “people.”

The list could go on, but perhaps most importantly, as a conservative I believe we must return to the traditional American values of fairness, respect, and community. We Americans support one another. We work together for the common good. It is our conservative, patriotic duty.