Last week, I decided to leave the Democratic party in the United States. I have been a staunch Democrat since my early twenties due to the Democrats’ typical positions on the environment, education, anti-war, universal healthcare, anti-guns, immigration reform, feminism (defined only as equality of opportunity for women), equal rights for gay people, and more. But I am now of the opinion that the party has taken things too far to the left. The intention of this article is to discuss three issues that led me to re-evaluate my position: the legalization of sex work, abortion rights and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal.
Legalization of prostitution
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris believes the United States should legalize the sex trade. She thinks that in the case of consenting adults, prostitution should be legal. Yet legalization will only increase usage. People who would have never thought of purchasing the services from a prostitute due to the fear of being caught and prosecuted may reconsider. Women who would have never thought of being a prostitute may reconsider. The social stigma would be wiped out. What would follow is a decline in family values and an increased acceptance of an industry that degrades women both physically and mentally. Furthermore, a 2012 study of 116 countries found that the legalization of prostitution increases human trafficking inflows! https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/lids/2014/06/12/does-legalized-prostitution-increase-human-trafficking/
I was pro-choice on abortion up until I became pregnant with my second son. During an ultrasound, I was informed that he had “two soft markers for Down Syndrome: an echogenic heart and echogenic bowels.” I had opted to have an amniocentesis at the time, so I sat on pins and needles for about a week before I learned of the results. The nurses informed me that they could tell he was a son. At around 12 weeks, they could easily determine his gender. They further informed me that I could “terminate the pregnancy.” That seriously bothered me.
I became pro-life as I scoured the internet over the next few days to find out what being the mother of a boy with Down Syndrome would entail. My husband and I decided no matter his condition, he was our son and we were giving birth to him. He was born without Down Syndrome.
While I am not trying to change the laws on abortion (primarily due to the fact around 1% of women who have abortions say they were are raped or victims of incest), I will do all I can to be sure women are aware of other options and aware of how quickly fetuses develop. “Terminating the pregnancy” due to inconvenience makes me ill.
Despite my swing to the left on several social issues, I’m fiscally conservative and a Christian. I’m a capitalist who supports free trade, entrepreneurship, and businesses. I’m a business professor who teaches leadership and human resource management and I understand the merits of incentives and systems fueled by innovation, creativity, and human natural motivations. So, I have always considered myself a moderate Democrat. Today, I’m a moderate independent.
Why did I make that change? The Democrats are swinging way too far to the left for my taste. They have pushed the envelope too far.
On February 25, 2019, Senate Democrats “defeated a GOP attempt to advance legislation that would clarify that babies who survive attempted abortions must receive medical care” (Leonard, 2019).” The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is detailed on Congress.gov as follows:
“This bill amends the federal criminal code to require any health care practitioner who is present when a child is born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion to: (1) exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age, and (2) ensure that such child is immediately admitted to a hospital. The term “born alive” means the complete expulsion or extraction from his or her mother, at any stage of development, who after such expulsion or extraction breathes or has a beating heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, regardless of whether the umbilical cord has been cut.
Also, a health care practitioner or other employee who has knowledge of a failure to comply with these requirements must immediately report such failure to an appropriate law enforcement agency. An individual who violates the provisions of this bill is subject to a criminal fine, up to five years in prison, or both. An individual who commits an overt act that kills a child born alive is subject to criminal prosecution for murder.
The bill bars the criminal prosecution of a mother of a child born alive for conspiracy to violate these provisions, for being an accessory after the fact, or for concealment of felony. A woman who undergoes an abortion or attempted abortion may file a civil action for damages against an individual who violates this bill.”
In summary, this bill had the potential to clarify protections for babies who survive botched abortions – and 44 Democrats rejected it.
Furthermore, several states of late are considering ways to loosen up laws concerning third-trimester abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, nine percent of women have abortions after the first trimester and slightly more than one percent are performed at 21 weeks or later. Click here for further information https://www.guttmacher.org/evidence-you-can-use/later-abortion.
One study indicated that women who have abortions after 13 weeks are women with lower education levels, women who have had three or more disruptive events in their lives, such as the separation from a spouse or unemployment, and black women (Jones & Finer, 2011). The characteristics of women who have abortions after 16 weeks include black women, women with health insurance that could fund the procedure, and those with higher incomes (Jones & Finer, 2011).
When she was 31 weeks pregnant, Erika Christensen discovered the baby she was carrying would not be able to survive outside of the womb. In New York, where she resided at the time in 2016, abortions after 24 weeks were illegal unless the mother’s life was immediately in jeopardy, so she flew to Colorado and had a doctor give her baby an injection that stopped his heartbeat but prevented her from going into labor (Tolentino, 2019). Then she returned to New York and gave birth to her dead son. New York recently passed the Reproductive Health Act, which removes barriers for women who want abortions after 24 weeks when the fetus is “not viable.” So today, Erika would not have had to travel to Colorado to have her abortion.
Why a woman in her position would not have chosen to induce labor so that she and her husband could hold and hug her son alive (even if only once) is beyond me. Babies are almost fully developed at 31 weeks. Many are born at 31 weeks.
Green New Deal
The countries of this world offer political systems that vary on a spectrum that includes communism, socialism, and capitalism. Countries cannot operate with “pure” versions of these systems so we often find a mix of policies where the government funds public education, infrastructure, police and firefighter protections, the military, and federal, state and local government offices. But individuals and businesses are given full property rights and are free to market their goods and services. This “capitalism” encourages growth, innovation, and contributes positively to the gross domestic product. The United States is considered a capitalist society and has been a hub of innovation for decades, especially in places like Silicon Valley. Though capitalism has some flaws, due to the actions of some greedy business people, its positive outcomes for societies in general far outweigh any negatives.
In Venezuela, an extreme version of socialism has devastated their economy. Venezuela gives socialism a very bad name. In Northern Europe, social democracies thrive. High income tax rates for individuals in those countries help to fund universal healthcare, yet innovation and entrepreneurship are encouraged, so businesses and people can thrive. While I would be very willing to pay higher personal taxes for universal healthcare, this is a very complex issue and implementing a single payer healthcare system comes with many challenges.
Universal healthcare is a lofty goal, so if one proposes implementation, a full consideration of all of the related issues concerning funding is needed. That brings me to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “AOC” is a 29-year old Democratic New York state politician who wants to combat climate change with a very ambitious “Green New Deal” to severely reduce carbon emissions. The Green New Deal calls for a high-speed rail system to replace airlines, a zero-carbon electricity grid, a universal healthcare plan, guaranteed government jobs programs and guaranteed green housing. The only problem is the price tag: $93 trillion in the first ten years (American Action Forum). To put this number into perspective, consider that economists expect the entire U.S. GDP over the next decade will be $266 trillion (Editorial, Investors Business Daily).
“That means the Green New Deal would account for up to 35% of the nation’s economy from 2020 to 2029. That’s on top of existing federal government programs, which already consume more than 20% of GDP each year. To call this “unrealistic” is the understatement of the year. It would be cataclysmic” (Editorial, Investors Business Daily).
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed “Modern Monetary Theory” to fund her Green New Deal. MMT operates under the notion that the government can simply print more money and borrow from itself to fund these programs. This equates to borrowing from one credit card to fund another. Hyper-inflation results.
“Even Paul Krugman, himself a liberal-left economist, finds MMT lacking. ‘When people expect inflation, they become reluctant to hold cash, which drives prices up and means that the government has to print more money to extract a given amount of real resources, which means higher inflation, etc.,” he wrote last month. “Do the math, and it becomes clear that any attempt to extract too much from seigniorage (printing money) — more than a few percent of GDP, probably – leads to an infinite upward spiral in inflation. In effect, the currency is destroyed.’” (Jones, 2019).
Sadly, AOC is not the only Democrat who supports this Modern Monetary Theory. Bernie Sanders is also a fan. It would behoove both to examine critically recent history in Venezuela. They can start here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article223796500.html.
In conclusion, due to my sensibilities toward women, the tiniest members of our society and my desire to be fiscally responsible, I have jumped ship from the Democrats. My vote will go to the person who takes much more moderate positions.
Thank you for your time.
Anonymous. (2019). How does the Boss ‘AOC’ plan to pay for her Green New Deal? https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/green-new-deal-93-trillion-alexandria-ocasio-cortez/
Jones, R.K. & Finer, L.B. (2011). Who has second trimester abortions in the United States? Contraception, 85(6): 544-551. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22176796
Jones, T. (2019). Modern Monetary Theory: Everyone’s talking about it, but will it work? Investors Business Daily. March 1. https://www.investors.com/news/economy/modern-monetary-theory-mmt-inflation-spending/
Leonard, K. (2019). Democrats block bill to ensure medical care for abortion survivors. Washington Examiner. February 25.
Tolentino, J. (2019). The Reproductive Health Act will remove barriers for women seeking to get abortions in New York. But some wish it could have gone further. The New Yorker. January 19.