Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Progressive and supporting Ron Paul? How can that be?!?!

A recent post of mine, supportive of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, elicited a comment from Laura, the author of We Move to Canada.  An excellent blog about her experiences as an American moving to, and now living in Canada.

She directed me to a post she had written on the Texas congressman entitled: 

Laura takes exception to Mr. Paul's extreme Libertarian politics, and many of his stances would certainly appear to be 'anti-progressive'.  Ending affirmative action being a case in point. 

I feel compelled to explain my rationale for being supportive of Ron Paul.  Before concluding that he would be the best candidate (in my seldom humble opinion) I was already aware of his big L libertarian views. 

So, how is it that someone who considers himself to be both progressive and very liberal minded...How can I support a candidate like Ron Paul? 

Allow me to explain:

Firstly, while I absolutely and without reservation embrace the term Liberal when describing my views...there is a caveat.  Fiscally speaking I am very much a conservative.  For me fiscal conservatism is the only way to ensure progressive and liberal minded government policies and programs. 

Its hard to be progressive and liberal when you're broke.  And sadly, looking at the level of debt in the U.S.  there is a strong argument to be made that they have basically reached that point.  Sure the U.S. is able to add to its Biblical debt load, much the way Homer Simpson continues to find financing for things like an RV, but that doesn't mean they're not broke.

And many Americans realize this, they know they're pooched, and they're looking for answers.  You can't turn on a U.S. newscast these days without hearing about the one percent versus the ninety nine percent, about raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and whether or not it would help, about severe cuts to social programs. 

Missing from much of this debate is the massive amount of corporate welfare that exists, not just in the U.S. but in Canada too.  Forget about the billions thrown at poorly managed and possibly criminal financial companies in the wake of the global financial crisis.  Instead just look at the number of government departments and agencies that are set up to help the business sector.

The typical right wing conservative argument is that government has to support the corporate sector, because they're the ones creating jobs, wealth and prosperity.  I have two words for that argument, and given that I keep profanity off this blog whenever I can, they rhyme with Gull Spit.

Business in my view doesn't give a rat's posterior about the general welfare, not of their communities and not for their workers.  Business is concerned with the bottom line, that's it and that's all.  If such weren't the case we wouldn't hear stories about billion dollar companies farming out work to overseas businesses that use child labour.  We wouldn't be constantly reading about employees being exploited, hired as contract workers to avoid having to pay out any benefits....and on and on and on and on.

The business of big business is to make $$$$, nothing more and nothing less.  Wealth doesn't trickle down as has been constantly proven, it consolidates at the top.  And business knows how to lobby. They pour millions, probably billions every year into ensuring that government looks after their interests.  Politicians?  Their job is to keep the great unwashed happy while playing the shell game with us to convince us they have our best interests at heart...They don't.

And into this mess steps Ron Paul.  And while I don't like everything about him, there is one quality I admire, consistency.  Yes he's a big L libertarian who would end social programs and try to kill initiatives like affirmative action.  But he'd also endeavour to end the corporate welfare state that many would argue the U.S. has evolved into. 

You can't make the payments on your mortgage?  So sad for you.  Your billion dollar corporation is about to fail and you're looking for a taxpayer funded bailout?  Tough noogies.

Canada and the U.S. are two different countries.  Thanks to the Chrétien/Martin Liberals getting our financial house in order, we've been better able to weather the financial storms of the past few years.  But thanks to the massive deficits of the past few years, it might not be long before we're in the same shape as our American friends.

In this country we can still somewhat afford to fund both Corporate Welfare and the social safety net.  But with all the talk about spending cuts and belt tightening....How many cuts are pointed at business interests who pour billions into lobbying efforts and right wing think tanks? 

Ron Paul probably won't win, but he's definitely a man worth listening to. 

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