As pretty much everyone knows by now, the United States had a general election yesterday. The Republican Party took the House of Representatives, but the Democrats retain the Senate, but with a smaller majority.
I don’t think the Republicans will really accomplish much of anything. They do not control the Senate and there is Obama’s veto power, so no significant agenda will be advanced. Basically, the likeliest results is basically a lot of keeping things the way they are. The GOP is not going to make a serious attempt at cutting government spending because they have no plans to do so. Their rhetoric on the matter is hollow because they always exempt the biggest financial black holes on the US budget. It’s easy to simply be against the government when out of power, but now that they control the purse strings they’ll have to do something. Nor do I think they will fail to increase the US’s debt ceiling. They might talk a lot about doing it but when the time comes to govern they’ll increase the ceiling rather than cause a default.
Several extremist Tea Party candidates lost. I’m especially glad that Christine O’Donnell lost. She and other lunatics probably kept the Senate in Democratic hands. It looks as if Sarah Palin’s chances of being the GOP presidential nominee in 2012 went down a bit, if she is serious about running. Her own chosen candidate could lose in her own state.
In other news, California unfortunately failed to legalize marijuana and Iowa had its pro–marriage equality judges thrown out. But at least California moved closer to getting rid of gerrymandering.
What is a fiscal conservative? Ask several people and you may get different answers, but for the purposes of this post I will define one as someone who: (1) supports low taxes and tax cuts; (2) supports “pro–business” government policies; and (3) supports deregulation and a reduction in red tape. It is a complete fantasy to think that those three things are always the correct course of action. However, since most Republicans support those economic policies, I will grant for the sake of argument that they are the way to go.
Opposition to same–sex marriage goes directly against fiscally conservative principles. Here’s why:
Same–sex marriage is good for the economy. In New York, legalization would bring in $210 million dollars for the state’s economy (cite). Marriage equality in Iowa will boost its wedding and tourism industries by at least $160 million in the first three years (cite). In Vermont, 700 jobs will be created and the tourism and wedding industries will be boosted by at least $30 million dollars (cite). These economic effects will be happening in the middle of a recession, when the economy needs boosting and unemployment is high. There is no way to be pro–business and while at the same time being pro–marriage inequality.
The costs of being a same–sex couple are really high. Using a hypothetical “average” lesbian couple, an analysis estimated that the lifetime cost of being an unrecognized same–sex couple range from $41,196 to $467,562 (cite). By having their marriage recognized, the couple could save all this money. Wouldn’t allowing them to save that much money be the economic equivalent of giving them a tax cut? And if tax cuts always stimulate the economy, then legalizing same–sex marriage will stimulate the economy. One cannot coherently believe that tax cuts stimulate the economy while at the same time refusing to give one to same–sex couples. In addition, by not having to search for workarounds to get some of the rights different–sex couples, it will decrease the amount of red tape.
There is one possible objection to my second point. The objection argues that LGBT people are really a tiny, over–affluent minority who don’t “need” tax cut. Unfortunately for this objection, the idea of “gay affluence” is a myth (cite, cite). And even if it is not, this objection fails. Remember trickle–down economics. If a tax cut for rich different–sex couples or rich single persons causes beneficial impacts due to trickle–down effects, the exact same thing would happen with same sex couples.
For these reasons, fiscal conservatives should support marriage equality. Opposition to it is deeply compromised and goes against their core principles.
This is great! Sweden’s parliament has passed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage (hat tip) and the Iowa Supreme Court has upheld a ruling, allowing marriage equality there too (hat tip).