Moderate liberal with a small hint of fiscal conservative. Let me try to explain the dichotomy of my political views. I am an investor, so market dynamics are extremely important to me: How big the deficit grows affects interest rates which affects profits which affect the market. I believe the free market drives innovation which in turn drives job creation, but it must be regulated to some extent or it's primary allegiance to profits will cause it run amok (think unregulated dumping into waterways because it is cheaper). I don't believe the government is hugely efficient when it comes to running things. But, I do believe the government is required during crisis times like the current economic meltdown to take over spending and job creation in place of the private sector. They won't do it well, but at least they can do it. This requires higher deficits during the bad times which hopefully swing toward surpluses when times get better (look at the 1990s).
I don't believe in trickle-down economic theory. I think tax cuts on income to the wealthy and corporations are accumlated primarily to the wealthy and not "trickled-down". I do believe in tax cuts for investment because of my above belief in the free-market. I personally have worked very hard for what I have, but I have also been very lucky. Within reason, I do not mind paying my share of taxes to support the social values I believe we should have as a nation.
I believe in the social safety net. Not everyone is able to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps" for whatever reason (background, illness, personality type). The whole world is not an entrepreneur in training. I've worked with enough people to know that certain personalities lend themselves to "bootstrapping" and others are just good "worker bees". I believe in extension of unemployment benefits during crisis times because it maintains some amount of spending in the economy and helps people when jobs are not available. I do not equate extension of unemployment benefits with welfare we give to "mothers to have babies" (a conservative argument against the extension). Welfare is a challenge for me because I know there are some who truly need the help and others who game the system. I do believe in protecting the environment which requires regulation to keep everyone honest. Yes it is more costly today, but sometimes you just need to spend money to protect future generations. I may not get benefit today, but my nephew will tomorrow. I believe in healthcare reform. I have seen first hand what insurance companies will do in the name of profits. Like environmental regulation, there must be some insurance regulation or corporate profits will always win over customer's health, especially when there is little or no competition (due to the anti-trust exemption for health insurers).
I believe in privacy and equal rights for all. I find it funny that conservatives spend so much time trying to pass legislation telling us what is right and wrong on a personal level while at the same time eroding our privacy rights in the name of national security, all while telling us they want smaller government. They only want smaller government fiscally. They want more government regulation when it suits their belief system. In addition to their stance on social issues, the stranglehold which the religious right has on the conservatives will almost ensure I never vote Republican. It is a shame because I do believe in the pressure the conservatives bring to the government to be fiscally responsible is critical to the country's fiscal health.
Hopefully you can see where many times I am conflicted. I don't necessarily want higher taxes, but I do believe in social safety nets. It is a balancing act for sure and one that I believe most moderate politicians face on a daily basis.