Fiscal Conservative, Social Liberal

I always get nervous when politicians starts labeling themselves a Fiscal Conservative and a Social Liberal, or Progressive or whatever. I haven’t seen one yet that will stop at just allowing an individual personal freedoms and privacy they at some point want to start writing checks to the underprivilidged. You can’t be free spending with tax dollars and be a fiscal conservative. That’s called being a fiscal liberal. It doesn’t matter if you want to open up the public coffers to the poor or to big business if you are suggesting that be done you are not a fiscal conservative.

Now you may be asking, “What brought this up, Larry?” Well, I’ll tell you. It’s this Howard Dean fellow. It seems that most of my online buddies are enamored with this fellow so I thought I’d give him a look-see. I was impressed by most of what I saw on his website and he also has a weblog that I’ve been following for a couple of days now. I agree with most of what he says but I’m bothered a little by his universal health care plans.

I like his goals but it seems that he wants to achieve them by relying heavily upon the Medicaid program, a program that has been hemorrhaging money badly for the past umpteen years. I can’t tell where he is suggesting to fix this program first and it seems that he wants to expand it, not by raising taxes, but by just foregoing the Bush tax cuts.

Okay, he must have some plan figured out to stimulate the economy so that it grows enough that taxes collected will be more than enough to balance the budget and pay for expanding the Medicaid system, so I click on over to his Fiscal Responsiblity page. Imagine my surprise when I see the message essentially saying, “Let me get back to you on this one.”

Okay, a friend of mine points out that he’s actually only been a candidate since June 23rd but he’s had to have had desires for this job for a lot, lot longer and he’s been govenor of Vermont for forever. Surely he’s got at least a framework in place in how to pay for all these wonderful programs he’s suggesting. At least more of a framework than just not cut taxes like Dubya wants. He seems to have everything else figured out.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I may well vote for this man. He’s said things that I like a heck of a lot more than any other Democrat in the race and he may come through with an economic plan that I find doable and fair to rich and poor alike. I’m not dismissing him right yet because so far it’s either him or Bush. All I’m saying is that he isn’t the fiscal conservative he’d like for us to believe no matter what he says about a balanced budget. Yeah, he’s done great things in Vermont but the US isn’t Vermont.

This next year is going to be interesting to watch.