Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal. This phrase, often coupled with a moderate political stance, demonstrates an individual’s support for LGBTQ+ rights and the pro-choice movement, but also support for conservative fiscal policies, such as lower taxes, small government, privatization, free trade, and deregulation of the economy. Support for this viewpoint can be found in Republican senator Marco Rubio saying he “would go attend a gay marriage,” and Republican senator Ted Cruz voicing support for states choosing their own marijuana legislature. While this viewpoint is shared by many across the country, it ultimately shows a shallow understanding of both national and world politics.
This is entirely due to the intertwining nature of fiscal and social policy, in the sense that the government institutes fiscal policies that affect social issues of our time. One of the most prominent is the cycle of poverty. With certain conservative policies that advocate for lower taxes, trickle down policies, and a distrust of welfare programs, they extenuate the cycle of poverty, often discriminating against marginalized individuals. In order to escape the cycle of poverty, one would have to acquire a job, which requires some sort of job training. Many of these people find it difficult to get a college degree due to cost or other factors, and even that does not guarantee them a job that will adequately support them. Their situation may or may not allow them to access this training. They may have small children or don’t have a car, which limits their access to tools that could potentially bring them out of their impoverished state. Children of poor parents are nearly guaranteed to also be impoverished. Additionally, poverty affects children of color disproportionately more than white children. In fact, children of color are four times more likely to be born into a poor family and face the issues that come with cyclical poverty.
This is when conservative fiscal policies come into play and ultimately hurt the impoverished by extending the cycle. They downplay the necessity of higher taxes that would contribute to a better quality of life. They decrease funding for colleges and universities, which, in turn, decreases the scholarships and merit aid that is granted to increase job security. Because of this, those who claim fiscal conservatism and social liberalism neglect key social issues of our time, making their political stance insufficient.
Dozens of other examples of this exist. Fiscal conservatives tout free trade policies that boast of cheap production costs, but ultimately hurt people overseas. Children work for cents a day, without any form of minimum wage or safety policies. They privatize prisons, which create monetary incentives for the government to create criminals, rather than catch them. Mass incarceration, especially of those who are unfairly convicted, is a huge social issue that so-called fiscal conservatives ignore.
While many believe that fiscal and social issues are divergent, it is exactly the opposite. Their intertwining nature makes it clear that they cannot escape one another. Fiscal policies instituted by the government deeply affect the social workings of both our national and global community. Those who truly believe that these issues can be separated delude themselves into believing that they are somehow above the political fray or able to be a true moderate. This idea of “fiscal conservative, social liberal” is completely false.
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