Political Spectrum Through Fiscal Preference
May 29, 2008
I was thinking today that most political affiliation to parties and left/right wing, can be concisely encapsulated by looking at the top Fiscal Priority of an individual. This seems to be able to identify parties and lables that otherwise elude simple description, since they contain a variety of various other views.
For example, the US Democratic Party favors government spending maximized towards social programs. The US Republican Party favors–at least since Reagan–government spending maximized towards defense. The US Libertarian Party favors decreased fiscal spending in all categories, and the US Green Party of course favors maximal environmental spending. I’m not quite up to date on the Israeli party zeitgeist, but this same methodology can be applied to them as they were when I left in 2000.
People often complain of the blurring of distinction between parties and labels, as do I. Usually such an affiliation tells you little about the person identifying as something or other except who they will likely vote for. Now, however, you will be able to understand their fiscal priorities. Anecdotally (that is, as far as I can stretch this thought exercise without actual data and polls), this is the only policy preference that is tightly-coupled to labels.
Bypass the screen of parties and cumbursome ideology: just ask people for what the top spending priority should be for the gov’t, realistically*.
- This means that although a Republican may want to spend the most on, say, Education, their prefered foreign policy would require heavy military spending, thus in reality, they would maximize defense spending. People are not always honest with themselves about these things, so you have to present this caveat explicitely to attempt to ellicit accurate replies.