I have noticed lately that in all discussions of Arnold’s race in California, someone pops up and claims Arnold is not fiscally conservative. I am not going to debate the merits of whether he is or isn’t (I have no earthly idea- criticisms about his not outlining his positions are entirely legitimate and accurate). What is curious is that there appears to be a new definition of ‘fiscally conservative’ that some people are peddling, and that is worthy of a discussion.
At least in my mind, ‘fiscally conservative’ does not mean ‘against all taxes.’ Fiscal conservatism, in my understanding, is not spending more than needs to be spent, avoiding deficits, and keeping tax rates as low as possible while not wasting taxpayer money.
Simply cutting taxes and spending boatloads (as the current administration is doing), is not fiscally conservative, but it is fiscally irresponsible, as I have stated over and over and over and over and over and over again. You do not need to engage in a debate of the relative merits of the spending to understand that spending 500 billion a year more than you take in to the treasury is fiscally irresponsible- and there is absolutely nothing conservative about it.
Fiscal conservatives believe, generally, that the idea is to keep government spending down- eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse. Fiscal conservatives believe tax cuts are good when the public is paying too much in taxes. Fiscal conservatives believe in balanced budgets.
Fiscal conservatives do not, IMHO, simply believe that all taxes should be repealed and the government should have no role in society- only absolutist, Big L, libertarians believe in that, and they should receive the teasing they richly deserve. In other words, while fiscal conservatism may incorporate certain attitudes about the level of taxation, it also includes a number of other beliefs, as well.
That’s about all I have to say about that.
*** Update ***
I guess I have more to say- this Scrappleface post about Arnold is genius (as always):
2003-08-18) — California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced plans for a televised debate in which he will match wits and words against members of his own campaign team.
“My staff and advisors are all over the map politically and ideologically,” said Mr. Schwarzenegger. “We want to use this TV debate to develop some major ideas that I can stand for. Because whatever those ideas are, I’m going to lead people to accept them. Because I am a leader with leadership qualities, and a destiny to lead and of course a leaders’ vision.”