I’ve made a conscious decision to stay out of politics for the last couple of years, but I think we are at a moment of history when a few questions need to be asked of conservatives who still support Mr. Trump. For most of my life, the stances of Republicans that I have admired most are those on states’ rights, free trade, personal accountability, and fiscal responsibility. My biggest question for conservatives is: Do you believe in and adhere to your principles, or do you support the party regardless of what principles its leaders espouse?
Conservatives claim to believe in states’ rights. However, when the state of California attempts to maintain its own standards for vehicle emissions, the president revokes that authority. Do you believe in this principle or not?
Obviously, Democrats tend to be anti-capitalism, but conservatives have always maintained that they believe in free trade. This president has done more to damage free trade and restrict it than any before him. The trade war and tariffs with China are spiralling the world into a recession. Manipulating markets and pressuring the Federal Reserve to undo the damage the trade war is doing to the economy are NOT free trade fundamentals. Do you believe in markets or not?
For the eight years of Mr. Clinton’s presidency, Republicans railed against his immorality and dishonesty. Slick Willie he was called. Mr. Trump also regularly makes false and misleading statements. Typically outright lies. He also is a womanizer. Do you believe in personal accountability or not? Why are you not as outraged by this person’s behavior as you were Mr. Clinton’s? Is it blind devotion to the party?
When Mr. Obama took office during the Great Recession, conservatives screamed from every outlet possible that the sky was falling because of the national debt and the continuation of the bailouts begun during the Bush administration. Well, under Mr. Trump, in an effort to mitigate the damage done by the trade war, more money has been given to farmers than was used to bailout GM. The national debt has mushroomed to $22 trillion dollars. Where is the conservative outrage over lack of fiscal responsibility? Do you believe in this principle or does it only matter when a Democrat is in the oval office?
My final question for conservatives is this: is there anything this president could do that would make you stop supporting him?
I believe in the invisible hand. I believe that when market forces are allowed to function without excessive interference (like onerous regulations or protectionist tariffs) individuals will find an equilibrium for prices and wages.
One factor I’ve never quite understood, and maybe someone out there could explain it to me, is why we fixate on hourly wages for jobs in profit driven businesses. To me, an hourly wage is counterproductive for both the employer and the employee. It offers no incentive for an employee to work harder or be more productive in that position. As long as you show up and do the minimum required, you will earn the set hourly rate.
To me, it makes more sense to establish wage structures that are linked to productivity. If the business as a whole does well, both the employer and the employee earn more money. In the past, before computers were so prevalent, I can understand why this would have been impossible, but today, someone who is skilled at programming and math could easily tailor software for virtually every business that could calculate fair profit sharing wages.
This is an idea that both liberals and conservatives could find common ground on and improve the lives of just about everyone. I’ve worked in a broad range of businesses, and I could see this being applied everywhere I’ve ever worked. I once knew the owner of a repair shop who did this for his mechanics, and he said that his business absolutely exploded after he made the switch. Suddenly, those Friday afternoon jobs that normally were left until Monday morning weren’t quite as difficult to complete because the mechanic wanted the pay on this check.
If I were a person of influence, this would be my cause: to unite employers and employees in productivity-based wages instead of a set hourly rate.
That’s all for now.
When I started building that flower bed two and a half years ago, I survived off food stamps and the generosity of my parents. I’m incredibly grateful for both. We need a social safety net for people who stumble or get knocked down or just need a hand up. We don’t need a generational welfare system that reduces entire families to wards of the state, but that’s a different discussion for a different post. Without food stamps and my parents, I would not have survived the first 8-9 months, at least not without resorting to drastic measures.
I remember very clearly the first grocery trip paid for completely by my meager wages. I felt such a surge of pride that my sweat and muscle once again provided for my subsistence. I don’t know how people can be content living off of someone else’s money, whether that be the government, family, friends, or lovers. Obviously, there are people who are disabled and incapable of fending for themselves. I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about the able-bodied.
The feeling of doing for yourself is just too fulfilling. The sense of ownership that comes from earning the money to pay for your own stuff is so internally rewarding that I don’t understand how people can allow themselves to wallow in dependency.
When I finished checking out from that grocery trip, I felt like anything was possible. I know it was just a $40 bag of groceries, but it was so much more than that, too. I had tasted decent measures of success before, so I knew what it felt like. I had just survived some of the darkest moments I can imagine, and those scars were still quite fresh, but that little shopping trip on a winter’s night in January is one of my favorite victories.
That’s all for now.