How I Got Mugged by Reality and Became a Conservative

Mike Jensen, The Lone Conservative

FreeMarket Central

It may be a bit cliché to say, but my personal shift from Liberalism to Conservatism was akin to going from adolescence to adulthood. I was most sure of my ideas and opinions at the time where I knew the least about anything—my freshman year of college. 

Going through a public school system and being taught by teachers who more than lean to the left, my thoughts and ideas were incubated in a bubble of combined confirmation of bias and an arrogant self-assurance. When I started college, I was almost a textbook urban, liberal democrat. I believed all of the common party gospel: Republicans were racist, the rich held the poor under their thumb for the fun of it, and that if the right people were in power they could solve all of my problems.

Then, to quote Alan Greenspan, I "got mugged by Reality." I began to have experiences that challenged my worldview. I worked in my local government as an accounting intern for the Department of Streets and I took courses in Economics, but, perhaps most importantly, I realized how empowering conservative ideology can be as a worldview.

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Thanks to "bracket creep," the inflation of the 1970s pushed millions of taxpayers into higher tax brackets even though their inflation-adjusted incomes were not rising. To help offset this tax increase and also to improve incentives to work, save, and invest, President Reagan proposed sweeping tax rate reductions during the 1980s. What happened? Total tax revenues climbed by 99.4 percent during the 1980s, and the results are even more impressive when looking at what happened to personal income tax revenues. Once the economy received an unambiguous tax cut in January 1983, income tax revenues climbed dramatically, increasing by more than 54 percent by 1989 (28 percent after adjusting for inflation).

 

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