According to a 2019 YouGov poll, 70 percent of young Americans claim they would vote for a socialist. The troubling statistics have left conservatives wondering what to do to win over America’s youth.
As we work to find solutions to the medical and economic implications of COVID-19, it is more important than ever for conservatives to maintain their pride in and speak to the values of personal freedom and capitalism.
The socialist left has been quick to push their usual talking points: Blaming capitalism for medical supply shortages, insisting if their fill-in-the-blank for all policies existed, we would be better prepared for a pandemic, and most troubling, claiming that by supporting emergency relief for average Americans, the conservatives are finally supporting socialism after all.
This has come down to a battle of messaging. Socialists have succeeded in winning over my generation in recent years, meaning conservatives need to get serious about their efforts to present young Americans with a different perspective on public policy.
Our response to the coronavirus can show young Americans the power of a hand up, not a handout. For too long, the left has gotten away with pushing an image of immoral, unfettered, Wild West capitalism.
Now is a perfect time for conservatives to prove them wrong, showing we are proud taxpayers who believe in helping our fellow man in times of need. We believe in government action when the time calls for it. We believe in compassionate capitalism. And we believe during difficult times, the public and private sectors can work together to achieve amazing results.
In true American spirit, we have all agreed to temporarily shut down our way of life in order to save as many lives as possible and heal our land. Many actions have already been taken to help average Americans during this time, including: Suspension of foreclosures and evictions, waiving interest of student loans for 60 days, and food assistance for people in need.
But the big idea on the table is now a $1 trillion plan to help businesses and send direct checks to Americans: A hand up. This single payment of about $1,000 would give Americans struggling during this “social distancing” period the cash needed to pay for necessities until this is over.
Regardless of what many on the left have said about this emergency relief payment proposal, it is not socialism and it is the same as Universal Basic Income (UBI): A handout.
UBI proposals, like former presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s, are designed to give every American $1,000 per month for life to use as extra spending money. Mr. Yang’s UBI proposal would cost American taxpayers $2.6 trillion per year.
The concept and cost of UBI are incomparable to a single relief payment during a pandemic crisis, but that doesn’t stop UBI supporters and radical leftists from pushing a false narrative.
Matt Zwolinski, director of the University of San Diego’s Center for Ethics, Economics and Public Policy, said Republican’s support for emergency relief payments “signifies that UBI is gaining traction. It is significant to see an actual politician on the right supporting something like this,” he says.
Misleading statements like Mr. Zwolinksi’s do more harm than good and allow the far-left to get away with their continued attempts to radicalize our youth and turn these radical policies mainstream.
For the left to compare the two is ignorant at best and purposefully misleading at worst. Conservatives need to fight back on this dangerous messaging by showing the clear difference between the two and exemplifying the power of lending your fellow man a hand up during a hard time.
The goal for us all is to return back to normal as soon as possible.
• Morgan Zegers is CEO and founder of Young Americans Against Socialism.
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