Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why Conservative Policies are Better for the Middle Class

People can’t afford to fall prey to false rhetoric, no matter how favored it is by the mainstream media or how often it is repeated. When it comes to a nation’s economic future, facts must dictate one’s choices.

When it comes to what’s best for working people, for the struggling middle class and for those who are not yet at that level, Conservative policy is head and shoulders above that of the Liberals. It is more sensible and designed to work. Conservatives understand the need for a strong middle class, and most conservatives are members of that financial category.

By contrast, the failed platform of Liberals has been discredited and rejected in every country that’s had to endure its results. Just look at Western Europe, where every country has gone conservative in order for the average person to have a better life. Liberal policies simply don’t work and actually harm those they’re designed to help the most.

Here’s why:

On the simplest level: when you bite the hand that feeds the economy, you bite the hand that feeds the economy. In other words, when you tax small business excessively, you prevent this sector from being able to hire workers or develop/distribute products that would fuel the economy. Tax rates that are low allow businesses to hire workers, pay them satisfactorily (a key element in getting good results) and reinvest in product development, which in turn fuels more jobs and overall business.

Take unemployment numbers as a measure of economic effectiveness. The United States is reeling from a shockingly high unemployment rate of 6.1% (which was expected, based on normal economic cycles; but that’s for another column). Until just two years ago, such a rate would have been shockingly good in Canada. In Western Europe, liberal high taxation policies led to permanent double digit unemployment and total economic stagnation, something that is only beginning to change as more conservative leaders have recently been elected.

It’s time to stop believing hype and to examine the facts as they are and as they work in any economy.

Which brings us to the Dion Liberals:

The Chretien and Martin governments had the results of both the US and North America free trade deals, the significant reduction in personal income tax and other measures handed to them from the Conservative policy years. True, the personal tax reductions were offset by the unpopular but needed GST, but the sales tax put the burden on spending, encouraged personal savings and promoted business development (which is, again, synonymous with jobs) to Canada, as income tax levels are far greater consideration for companies in deciding where to locate than sales tax ever is. For further details on the extent of the benefits of the economic policies handed to the Chretien Liberals from the Mulroney years, I’d encourage all to read Professor Stephen Gordon’s detailed account, available here.

The Chretien Liberals knew what they were handed, and they knew well enough to leave things alone. Dion would make no such “mistake.”

Stephen Dion is by far the most radically left leader the Liberals have ever had. He is also among the most clueless on the economy. What’s worse, unlike past leaders who recognized their lack of knowledge in this area, and deferred to more qualified ministers in this area, Dion fails to acknowledge his own limitations. And such a failure would no doubt be fraught with disaster.

Which is why it’s important to encourage one’s friends to vote for the party that will truly have the best interests of the middle class and the poor (who also need jobs, more so than anyone else), in mind. It’s a primary reason to vote Conservative.

Overcoming Illusion with Reality

On another note, the Conservative’s biggest problems are PR, i.e. public perception. Prime Minister Harper has done much since he took office to defuse this perception, but the idea that Conservatives are only “good for the rich” and other commonly held fallacies are still prevalent.

The only real way to overcome this is to educate, to clearly and succinctly explain the benefits of Conservative policy and how the Conservatives do in fact look out for the middle class (and are much better at doing so than any of the other parties). Moreover, the best time to do this is during a campaign.

Still, new and bold actions will speak louder still. If Conservatives want to rebrand their image, and shock the Liberals in so doing, they will propose, and run on, each of the following:

  • Implementing financial literacy education in high schools, so that teens know the difference between responsible use of credit and wasteful spending and the tangible benefits that good credit and accumulating savings can mean in their lives. Such a course should also cover how to balance a checkbook, when to buy, lease or finance a car, the difference between safe and risky investments and clearly outline the real benefits of staying in school and avoiding crime.
  • Implementing a life skills training course for middle schools in which students learn confidence building skills, good social interaction, how to stand up to peer pressure, the tangible benefits of doing so and how to function in the workplace.
  • Promotion of an alternative sentencing program that reforms non-violent criminals and all who don’t present a significant risk to society as an alternative to incarceration. Such a program would be labor oriented, much shorter and tougher. Study after study shows short labor sentences to be exponentially more effective than incarceration. It is also a far more humane alternative. As a side benefit, it would cost no jobs as existing prisons and their staff would oversee the labor programs and bid on public works contracts.

The above proposals will show the Conservatives to be the most cognizant party and the only one with fresh ideas that truly benefit society. This is change public misperceptions and embodies the spirit of good government.

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