In Left or Right? « Touamoto Sakimata-Smith my buddy Greg talked about being ‘fiscally conservative’ and it got my blood flowing a bit — brought back an earlier conversation I had with my city councilor.
I’ve had a problem with the term ‘fiscally conservative’ for a while now, because I see it as having mixed meanings.
I think I’m ‘fiscally conservative’ with my own money because I don’t do into debt for things (pay cash whenever I can, pay down the mortgage ASAP, do without if I don’t have the money.) I also don’t own any penny stocks or precious metal funds.
But insofar as public policy, I believe that we’re better off as a society if there is a strong ‘Common Good’. I believe that there is value in public services far beyond the cost of them. Because of that I’ve been a strong advocate for public libraries, public education and city services.
I don’t subscribe to the opinion that all taxes are evil by definition and that we should cut every public service possible in order to keep taxes down. I want to make sure my governments are managing our shared pool of money well, but I WANT to pay taxes and I WANT my taxes to go toward strong public services. So I’m much more concerned about getting the most common ‘bang’ for my tax buck than paying fewer tax bucks.
I also don’t have a problem paying more taxes than someone who lives in a smaller house or makes less money. If I have ‘more’, I don’t have trouble paying more.
Can I still call myself fiscally conservative? Has the term been co-opted to imply ‘I Hate Taxes’ or am I using the term incorrectly?