It’s President’s Day, 2016 and it’s also an election year. America will again be choosing a liberal or conservative candidate to be the next President. We won’t know our choices until the primaries are finished but it will once again be a knock-down, drag-out fight all the way to the November elections. And well it should be – a lot is at stake.
There are many issues on either side of the political spectrum that attract people to the liberal or conservative cause. I’m sure you have a worldview or pet issue that draws you in one direction or the other. Our differences are both a strength and a weakness, propelling us forward at times and hindering us at others.
One area though where the American electorate can find common ground is this: we need money to manage our lives. I don’t see how you can argue with that statement given the nature of our society. Money functions as a tool for living. The more of it we have, the better off we are when it comes to running our day to day lives.
So during an election year is a good time to ask, “Which philosophical viewpoint – liberal or conservative – gives me the best chance to succeed with money?” Whoever becomes the next President will surely promote his or her agenda to the American people. Their views about money, economics, businesses, taxes and foreign affairs will have a dramatic impact on our pocketbooks. Not that you should only vote based on your wallet but it is a major factor to consider.
To answer the question, I’ll start the only place I know – with the actual viewpoints.
Liberal or Conservative Worldview on Money?
The two positions differ on most every issue. I won’t be listing certain issues, only those that obviously pertain to and impact our personal finances. So abortion rights, gun rights and gay rights activists on either side please move along.
Through researching various political websites and doing a side by side comparison of the 2012 Democratic (liberal) and Republican (conservative) party platforms, I see these opposing viewpoints as having the most impact on our money. These are summaries only and not meant to exhaustively dissect each position.
On the minimum wage, the liberal position is in favor of higher minimum wages for workers. The conservative position believes wages should be set by the marketplace.
On taxes, the liberal position believes in progressive taxation (i.e. higher tax rates for higher income brackets, lower taxes for the middle class). The conservative position holds that taxes should be reduced for everyone, including the wealthy.
On jobs, the liberal position supports unions and looks to keep jobs in the U.S. The conservative position looks to give businesses incentives to create jobs wherever it’s cost effective.
On social security, the liberal position maintains that social security should remain a government funded program for retirees. The conservative position promotes that social security for retirees needs reform and should be privatized.
On healthcare, the liberal position believes healthcare is a fundamental right for all and promotes its nationalization. The conservative position desires healthcare to be a personal choice. It looks to keep healthcare in the private sector and let market forces dictate prices.
On immigration, the liberal position supports open borders and the rights of foreigners to come into the U.S. and find work, whether entering legally or not. The conservative position works to keep border security tight and only allow legal entrance to the U.S.
On the environment, the liberal position generally puts environmental interests over that of businesses. The conservative position generally puts business interests over that of the environment.
I know there is red meat all over those issues when it comes to whether the liberal or conservative position is best for your money. Generally speaking, it’s my view that policies which allow me to keep more of my hard earned money to do with as I choose are a good thing. To me that’s the essence of freedom and what America is all about.
But my point in bringing these issues to light today is not to start a political argument. If you want to have one feel free in my comments section below.
Rather I’d like you to consider an alternative narrative. On the one hand, it does matter what a President believes. A President’s leadership can impact the country in positive and negative ways. What he or she might implement can impact our money. Take in point the current healthcare system that has seen premiums skyrocket for many.
However, their agenda is not the end-all to your personal finances. You can have financial success whether or not a liberal or conservative President resides in the White House. That success can happen when you stop blaming and start realizing that you are the best President for your money.
You Are the Best President for Your Money
I think it’s safe to say for the last 8 years we’ve had a very liberal President. Under the Obama administration we’ve seen healthcare costs rise, the number of people out of work rise and the environment being supported instead of energy related issues (i.e. the Keystone Pipeline). The constant flow of immigrants is having an impact on the job market.
The national debt is rising fast and our financial interests around the globe are suffering. Gas prices were high until recently. The current economic policies are creating a volatile stock market.
I can’t control any of that. To quote our President, those issues are “above my pay grade.”
But there is something within my reach that I can control…and that’s my life.
Am I better off financially than I was eight years ago? You bet I am. Why? Because my wife and I chose to become the President of our own house and our money. We chose not let someone else – whether the government or societal influence – dictate to us how to get by. We took steps to make our lives better in the last eight years instead of waiting for someone else to do it for us.
Our success is all about dealing with things on a micro level. We can control what goes on in our household. We can do that whether it’s a liberal or conservative in the Oval Office. One or the other might help us do it more efficiently but we can still get it done nonetheless.
For example, you can choose to get out of debt whether or not a liberal or conservative is in office. You can choose to spend less than you make each month. You can choose to get a new job or find that new career to move you forward. You can choose to save and invest for the long haul even if it seems scary at times. You can choose to find new insurance options if you don’t like your current ones.
We’ve done all those things and more under a liberal President. We’d have done the same if Obama had been conservative.
What I’m trying to get you to see today is that the liberal or conservative President discussion doesn’t necessarily stop you from succeeding with your finances. It’s easy to cast blame on a political party and say they are the cause of all my woes. What I’ve found more often in my life is that I’m the cause of my woes. Not always for sure, but often.
Don’t use the government as your financial scapegoat. Take ownership today of your house. You can succeed with your money no matter if it’s a liberal or conservative in charge.
Questions: Are you better off financially than you were 8 years ago? Why or why not? What steps have you taken in the last eight years with your money? Do you think the liberal or conservative party best helps people build wealth?