Consider the following attitudes:
- For balanced budgets, and against deficits.
- For smaller government, meaning lower taxes and lower government spending.
- For reducing the percentage of the tax burden placed on the wealthy.
- For government spending that has a demonstrable return on investment, against wasteful spending that does not.
These all can be associated with fiscal conservatism. Yet they’re largely independent positions–policy changes can be evaluated separately along each criteria.
The fourth position seems to be the gaining considerable steam: eliminating earmarks, for instance, has little effect on the first three, but definitely satisfies the fourth. It’s also the least controversial of the four, the one most likely to find support across the political spectrum.