Conservative theory: Provide stable economic climate
In Wednesday's letter, "Tea Party's idea of government wrong," the author concludes with an impassioned statement, "I would hope that they change the laws so they are just a little more kind and just a little more fair." After I finished chanting "Yes we can!" multiple times, I started thinking about the idea of fairness and kindness. These two words are so often thrown around in our political discourse that their true implications have been lost. During a debate with then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, presidential candidate Barack Obama told the world he wanted to raise the capital gains tax out of a sense of fairness, even though most economists believe that lowering the capital gains tax increases tax revenue. Moments like these, along with Wednesday's op-ed piece, loudly represents progressives' mentalities. Because progressives see political debates in terms of kindness and fairness, they have no problem saying sentences like, "Those that subscribe to the Tea Party platform reveal a purposeful callousness toward their fellow humans." Wow. People who believe in limited government are not only callous toward humanity, but we are doing it purposefully! This is nonsense, of course. A person who holds a different opinion is not necessarily a monster. A person whose worldview leans toward "libertarian" is not an idiot.
Fairness is, at its very core, a subjective word. I will give an example. Progressives are often in favor of the estate tax. When someone beyond a certain wealth threshold dies, the government taxes his or her estate. That may seem fair, because it is a progressive tax that is supposed to hit wealthier people disproportionately. In reality, the tax punishes people who wisely save their money. This tax hurts people who invest their money rather than spending it all. This tax is actually quite unfair because it rewards and encourages reckless spending, and it punishes and discourages frugal lifestyles.
Fairness is more than subjective — it is also misleading. Politicians claim to help the poor through certain policies. Often times, these very policies do the exact opposite of their stated goals. Take the minimum wage for example. Politicians implemented this policy for people who are low-skilled and under-educated. The stated purpose of this policy seems very fair. But the minimum wage actually hurts those low-skilled workers, because it stipulates that a business cannot hire someone who contributes fewer than that wage level. In fact, research has shown that a 10 percent increase in the minimum wage increases teen unemployment by 1 to 3 percent.
I would argue that these policies are not just unfair, but they hurt the competitive spirit of American entrepreneurship. That sense of entrepreneurship has brought more people out of poverty and into prosperity than any government program ever could. I believe that the best way government can help a poor person is to provide a stable economic climate for them to find a job. Conservatives believe that the free market does not lend itself to monopolies, because if a company is providing poor service then a different business can provide better service. Conservatives also believe that the government is needed to provide certain goods and services, but that does not give it the right to provide others. I am sorry, but I do not believe that this makes me a bad person, nor do I think that my rant reveals a "purposeful callousness" toward my fellow humans.
Noah Glyn is a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore majoring in economy and history.