Conservative self-interest

The corporate blowhards are ramping up their efforts to combat the general protests that are happening on Wall Street and across this country. It’s pretty easy to see the strategy, even in these early days: Paint the Occupy Wall Streeters—and their progeny across the nation—as the liberal equivalent of tea partiers.

The tactic suggests two possibilities: 1) the person making the comparison is willfully ignorant of the motives of both groups; 2) the person is intentionally attempting to malign the OWSers by comparing them to the tea partiers.

And that would make them either stupid or liars. Know the facts.

Here are a few of the demands of the OWSers: no more carried-interest loopholes; no more tax breaks for bonuses and stock options; no more CEO pay inflation; reinstate Glass-Steagall.

Do these look like liberal, touchy feely topics? Only to people who do not have a fundamental grasp of the differences between liberalism and conservatism.

Both these philosophies are about money and how government spends it.

A core value of conservatism is reduced government spending of taxes—the fewer taxes that are given away in welfare-styled entitlements, the less need for taxes. When government takes tax money from lower and middle income people and redistributes it to corporations, it decreases the amount of money that is in the pot for things like infrastructure, police and education. Corporate entitlements are only a conservative value to the corporations that receive the benefits.

Creating a regulatory environment that is conducive to business is a core value of conservatism. It was the repeal in 1999 of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 that made an unstable business environment and produced both the housing and the worldwide financial crises. To return to the good old days of corporate and individual responsibility is absolutely a conservative tenet.

Taking personal responsibility for financial needs—like health care or retirement—is another unconditional conservative value. Allowing entities, like corporations, to take money that belongs to U.S. taxpayers and use it for their own enrichment shows a shirking of responsibility on the part of U.S. individuals. If Americans weren’t giving away the farm to corporations, they’d have money for things like health care and taking care of their parents, instead of abdicating their responsibilities to government.

Having a strong national defense is another conservative tenet. Who is blind enough not to see that corporate greed and government compliance has created a national security risk? This is not some liberal talking point. The very fact that corporations are taking our American tax dollars in order to invest in jobs and infrastructure in other countries has made a situation in which Uncle Sam is on his knees before foreign investors like China. The national real estate and financial crises are a national security nightmare.

It’s about the money, folks. Let the corporate lickspittles try disingenuously to make the case that it’s a bunch of rogue wingnuts saving trees and baby veals on Wall Street. But conservation of your money for your use is about as conservative a value as there is.

This is yet another place where the left and the right have more to agree about than they have to disagree about. Do not trust those who would have you believe otherwise.