Stop Saying “Socially Liberal, Fiscally Conservative”

Years ago, like many New Yorkers, I got into the habit of saying I was “socially liberal, fiscally conservative.” However, I have forced myself to stop leaning on this cliché, as its brand has been somewhat diluted.

If you are okay with criminalization of black people and over-policing of black communities, then you are not socially liberal. If you are okay with living in predominantly white neighborhoods and sending your kids to predominantly white schools while living in one of the most diverse cities in the country, then you are not socially liberal. If you’re unhappy about the looming prospect of your elite schools receiving more local black and latino kids, then you are not socially liberal. If your only meaningful interaction with underrepresented minorities (other than the one or two in your office, of course) is your Jamaican or Filipino nanny and your black or latino doorman, then you are not socially liberal.

If you are okay with blowing up the national debt to finance tax cuts for the wealthy, you are not fiscally conservative. You just want low taxes.

For the people for which the above descriptors apply, let’s stop diluting the brand. Just be honest. Instead of using the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” moniker, just say “pro choice, low taxes.” It’s easy. Say it with me now: “pro choice, low taxes.”

Born in the Bronx, raised in NJ, living in Harlem. BA from Harvard, MBA from Dartmouth, CFA. Dual citizen: USA & Jamaica, Finance & Soccer.

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