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Words and labels don’t really have meaning. Meaning exists within our respective heads. To the extent that we share common experiences, we share common meanings. Parts of me align with all of the four baskets, so to speak, of labels in your response above. So, I’ll just respond to the fiscal conservative category.

By fiscal conservative, let me give you a very prosaic definition that’s ‘in my head’: being a good fiduciary of other people’s money (tax money and payroll taxes). To expand a little, it means no reckless spending, making budgets based on reality and probable income streams (estimates of taxes), taking out new loans only in truly, exigent circumstances AND increasing taxes when exigent circumstances warrant it. My parents would have said something like this: live within your means. It also means making good on promises that have been made, e.g., Social Security and Medicare.

These two examples above are not “entitlements” as some congressman like to call them. Every single pay check that I’ve ever received had a % taken out for both Social Security and Medicare; my employer was required to match that percentage too. I didn’t have a choice in the matter — and I’m not complaining about that % either. It was for my future, almost 40 years ago when I had my first part-time job. When I did consulting work, the percentage that I paid, after business expenses, was 15 % (the employee and employer parts). So, to call what is now a part of my yearly income as an “entitlement” is an insult to me and my various employers over the years.

Frankly I could have done a much better job investing those monies than the federal government has done with my/my employers contributions…because the feds have been raiding the social security “Trust Fund” for years to pay other obligations. So, in summary, this is what I mean about being a fiscal conservative.

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