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What is progressive?

Some so-called conservatives call it socialism, debt mongers, and other names, but let’s put aside the inaccurate name-calling and look at the truth.

A person or movement that is progressive is one that seeks to better the future. It is planning and working to improve the lives of as many as possible. What may surprise many is that it is also a truly fiscally conservative view. Let’s look a little deeper.

America was built on progress. Its future depends on progress. If not for progress, we would still be in horse-drawn carriages with no cure or treatment for malaria, typhoid, polio, rubella, or many other diseases? We would have no major transportation infrastructure, no cell phones, no Internet. We wouldn’t even have the WWII guidance technology co-invented by screen actress Hedy Lamarr that we call Wi-Fi. Many people would be dying from eating bad food for lack of enforced standards in food production, handling, preparation, and storage.

Progressives look for ways to ensure you and others have the best and longest life possible. Progressives want you protected from thievery and scams. Progressives want to help you have the best possible financial future.

When I was young, people selling insurance worried only about making their commissions. I remember a time when two salesmen came to call on my mother in an attempt to sell life insurance. I sat there as she ironed and listened to the salesmen. When they completed their pitch, they asked how she would ever be able to afford to feed the family on an amount they named if my father died. She replied truthfully, stating that she could because she was already doing it. My father, who made only a little more than the poverty level at the time, already had a third of his take-home pay used to pay for insurance. Thanks to progressives, insurance sales are handled differently now.

Do you like the vehicle you drive? When you bought it, the salesperson probably proudly pointed out the safety features. Manufacturers didn’t simply decide to add them. Progressives made it happen. Now more people are surviving vehicle accidents than in the past. You don’t like gasoline prices? Neither do progressives. It is one of the reasons – the other equally primary reason being environmental – progressives fought to get vehicles made that achieve higher miles per gallon.

Do progressives want to give away money to everyone? No, but they do want to provide some level of support to people who need it. Note that they do favor supporting people, not massive corporations that grossly overpay their senior staff while impoverishing their workers.

How can progressives be considered conservative when so many say they just want to spend money? Shortest answer: The view is incorrect. They do want to spend where spending is needed, but they also want to save money wherever possible. They do not want to spend money they don’t have and look for ways to reduce payments that are hurting everyone. As an example, America has a huge debt that has recently increased considerably. Progressives would like to pay down that debt. Why? Because the interest on that debt is eating America alive. You cannot just walk away from that debt. To do so is to immensely degrade America’s economic future, its ability to borrow again in the future when absolutely necessary, its ability to conduct basic international commerce with confidence. It would be a real blow to America. How could we pay down debt? The most painless way is to identify to most needlessly extravagant expenses in the budget and pull them into reality. I don’t mean the nickel and dime stuff so often pointed out that save a million here and there, but the really big items, some of which go for tens of billions of dollars or more.

Progressives look for ways to save you money. As one example that many discuss, it costs a lot to stay healthy in this country, far more than any other country. At the same time, the quality of health care is actually below that of several other countries, although some Americans refuse to admit that their system may not be the best. Progressives look to proven ways to reduce health care while improving the quality of care. When you think about it, that is true conservatism.

Progressives want your children to grow up well educated and healthy. They want your children to be able to have good jobs that pay at least a good, livable wage. They want you to have a good, affordable life, too. Aren’t these things you want, too?

Phil Milstead

Phil Milstead

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