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Loyalty to freedom, not political parties

Really, I’m a horrible constituent.

It’s a loyalty thing. You see, I won’t follow platforms, promises and parties like a good girl should, and I’m not going to stand in a crowd just for the chance to touch an anonymous politician’s hand, regardless of his or her party, gender or race.

If you’re going to woo me, you’ve got to provide more. Specifically, the hardest type of “more” to achieve these days: less government.

So you can imagine my boredom when I read yet another CNN or Associated Press story that praises the wonders of bipartisan cooperation in a way that the mere notion of inter-party compromise is thought of as good, no matter how or why the parties collaborate.

After all, it’s a bit curious why anyone would think an ideological mix of the entitlement given by most Democrats and the Jesus-ridden policies espoused by some Republicans – a virtual pincer hold on my constitutional rights, from the economic and religious ends, respectively – could ever be a good thing.

For example, a bipartisan move to approve a minimum wage increase passed in the House last Friday.

Republicans in the House generally granted approval of the bill, owing to the inclusion of a separate bill that would grant tax cuts to the small businesses to cushion the blow, so to speak. A similar bill in the Senate aspires to a similar aim, except it gives away $8.3 billion in tax breaks rather than the House’s $1.8 billion.

So, to get the reasoning straight: it’s OK to increase minimum wage, even though it might lead to more automation and decreases in unskilled, entry-level labor, if the government gives businesses a tax “break.” Talk about a euphemism – can it really be described as a break or a benefit if the money that isn’t taken by the IRS is forcibly divested toward wages anyway?

Although there’s currently some haggling between the House and the Senate as to which package is actually “better” for small businesses, there still remains no ideological debate about whether a minimum wage is ethically correct.

Consider that applying for and accepting employment is based on a voluntary, contractual agreement. Sure, one can’t live without a job (unless he or she mooches off parents, or worse, the government), but people cannot be physically forced into any type of work.

In essence, the process of seeking work, applying for a job and accepting employment is consensual. Two parties, the employer and employee, agree on a contract determining how many hours will be worked and how much the employee will be paid. Sure, it might not be a perfect contract, but it’s nevertheless a peaceable, voluntary agreement between two parties. Why the government should intervene and mandate this contract on activists’ terms escapes me.

Then there’s health care. According to AP, a bipartisan effort comprised of five Democrats and five Republicans has courted Bush to work on a plan to increase health care coverage for Americans.

Bush agreed to work with the bipartisan effort. Although this move was based on the assumption that the government should help facilitate health care, he at least aspires to keep health care private.

His plan also recognized that the current tax system isn’t good for the self-employed. It allows no deduction for insurance that the self-employed pay out of pocket.

The plan basically provides for a $7,500 write-off for an individual and $15,000 for a family, whether the insurance is paid for by an individual or included in an employees benefits package. However, some with employer-provided policies larger than $7,500 would see a slight tax increase.

Although the idea of taxing increases in benefits and income seems like a real disincentive to productivity and wanting to earn more, employees will actually have more freedom – they won’t be tied to their job for the sake of an insurance plan.

After all, if insurance is treated as taxable income and employers lose their tax benefit for the provision of insurance, employees and employers similarly wouldn’t want their old insurance relationship.

Thus, an argument for universal insurance – that the old system’s lack of flexibility discourages innovation and entrepreneurship in favor of stable jobs with insurance – falls flat.

Of course, the bipartisan group didn’t go along with this plan, and many Democrats complained that this plan would somehow lead to cuts in coverage, but didn’t refute the potential decrease in the uninsured.

There is obvious danger facing my “right to choice regarding money and health care” arguments from both political spectrums, however, which brings me back to the loyalty issue. I can’t be loyal to the tyranny entrenched in both parties because I’m only loyal to one thing in politics – the freedoms that ought to reign supreme in the United States.

Victoria Bekiempis is a sophomore majoring in history and French.