What Is Political Liberalism Versus Political Conservatism?

Many people, as well as many political elected officials, often refer to themselves as either a liberal or a conservative. However, what does that really mean?

Objectively, one would generally think that a conservative was someone who believed in “smaller government,” balanced budgets, and fewer social services, while a liberal might be perceived as someone who believed in more government involvement, more social programs, and larger spending. However, in the real world, the lines between conservative and liberal are quite often blurred.

Most people would have considered President Bill Clinton to be more liberal that President George Bush. However, when Clinton left office, there was a surplus budget, and the stock market was doing very well, and unemployment was rather low, while business profits were generally performing well. Eight years later, President George Bush left office with record federal deficits, a down stock market, a weakening economy and high unemployment figures. Government spending during the Bush administration grew at a far greater pace than during the Clinton years.

Much has been written and said about the Bush tax cuts, and while it certainly meant lower federal income taxes, it also undoubtedly brought in less federal revenue, thus exacerbating the deficit. In addition, these tax breaks on federal income tax often caused other municipalities to raise their taxes.

How many times have you heard a political candidate complaining about one type of taxes – - generally, real estate taxes? However, in a large number of cases, this reduced real estate tax ended up being more than offset by other taxes and fees that municipalities imposed.

When will the American public demand more from its elected officials? When will people stop reacting to rhetoric and terminology, and examine reality and action instead? Why do people call themselves liberal or conservative, and thus button hole themselves into some artificial label, with really very little true meaning. Why do people vote strictly by party line, as opposed to evaluating each issue on its merits?

There are very few officials that are strictly conservative, or strictly liberal on every issue. People must understand that it is possible for someone to be liberal on social issues, while being conservative on economic issues, or vice versa. We tend to label our politicians, our politics, and our issues in too much of a black and white matter, while there is generally a lot of gray areas. We deserve better than our current system is delivering.

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