Talk about un-compassionate conservatism.
A front-page story in today's Salem Statesman Journal reports that the group opposing modest increases in taxes on Oregon corporations and high-income individuals is blissfully unconcerned about...
Prisoners being released, teachers being fired, in-home care for seniors being slashed, newly hired state troopers being laid off, and other cuts in essential services that will hurt people in this state.
"If these measures do not pass, the world as we know it will not come to an end," said Pat McDonald of Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes.
No, Pat, your world of big business lobbyists won't be affected.
You'll get a hefty paycheck for coming up with lies such as "job-killing," and your corporate clients will be able to keep paying $10 a year in taxes, instead of -- gasp! -- the $150 called for in Tax Measures 66 and 67 that are up for a vote in Oregon next January.
Outrageous selfishness irritates me. Yes, I can be selfish, as we all are to some extent. But I don't mind paying taxes to support services for people less fortunate than me.
I feel others' pain. And that bothers me more than having a few less dollars in our bank account does.
So I can't understand how rabid anti-tax zealots like McDonald can be so excited about keeping the minimum Oregon corporate tax at $10 and not raising personal income taxes slightly on individuals making more than $125,00 a year and couples making more than $250,000.
Last April 15 I blogged about how I love taxes. They're beautiful. It's how people come together and pool their money to pay for desirable common goods.
Often, if not usually, government can spend taxpayers' money more wisely than they can. Just look at all the crap people buy. And how it isn't possible for any individual (unless super rich) to pave a road, build a school, or run a hospital.
Government allows us to band together, pool our money, and pay for the communal goods that we can't provide on our own. So tax day should be celebrated, rather than cursed.
It's when we demonstrate that the boundaries of our concern, empathy, charity, and love extend beyond the narrow confines of our little ego-centered me, me, me world.
Pay your taxes with a smile. It's the greatest gift you'll give in 2009.
I'll be voting "Yes" on Measures 66 and 67. Also with a smile.
Jack Bog had a different take on it. I will have to think about it as a lot of what the state has done hasn't pleased me much. It's not taxes but how they are spent that bothers me the most and sometimes voting no is the only way to make the legislators care. There have been promises made that seem unfair to me. If we drive out business (and it's easy to do that) there won't be any salaries to pay taxes. Not saying I won't vote yes, but it's indefinite right now.
Posted by: Rain | December 02, 2009 at 06:57 AM
"Often, if not usually, government can spend taxpayers' money more wisely than they can."
--You're nuts. That is possibly the most absurd statement I have heard in quite awile. But I am not going to explain why. If you were capable of understanding why you wouldn't have made that statement in the first place. It's unbelieveable how some people think... give more money and power to the irresponsible, incompetent and/or corrupt policy-decision makers who got us into this fiscal mess in the first place?!!? Good grief!! What have they done to deserve my trust?
Sorry, but if government wants more of my money they will have to "earn my business" as the car salesmen say.
Posted by: Jim | December 03, 2009 at 02:19 PM
I am another Oregonian that doesn't mind paying taxes. I do have problems with what some of my taxes are spent on, but that's another story.
For me, I would like my taxes to pay for better education, social services, police, fire protection, natural resources management, environmental protection, etc etc. Many of those would not necessarily directly benefit me or my wife.
We have no children, but don't mind paying for the education of others.
We have decent incomes, so don't need the social services/safety net programs that taxes fund. But we don't mind paying for them at all, so that others in need can acccess those services.
As for police and fire protection, well, thankfully we haven't had a need for either. But it's nice to know that the resources are there for those that do need it.
Environmental protection benefits all, including us, as does effective natural resources management.
My point is, we are not selfish people, and it seems that most anti-tax people are the opposite: They don't want to contribute to the betterment of ANYBODY or ANYTHING else.
Not the poor, the hungry, the homeless. Not the children whose parents can't afford school supplies for their kids. Not the fish in our local streams that needs a little protection from industry. Not the forests that need to be managed so that massive wildfires don't wipe them out come summertime.
They go on and on about how they can spend their tax money better than the government, but the truth is, if the government suddenly decided not to provide all of these service, these anti-tax folks would NOT step up and spend their money to fill the gaps, regardless of how "wisely" they can spend funds.
The funny thing is, these people think that they would not be negatively impacted. They think that suddenly shutting down social services programs wouldn't lead directly to their doors, cuz gee, they have plenty of money.
But many of the poor people who would no longer have that safety net support would have no choice but to turn to crime to support themselves. Stealing. Robbing. Assaulting. And sooner or later, it WILLL end up on the doormat of those anti-tax folks.
Ironically, at that point, they would be ALL ABOUT rasing more tax dollars to put toward law enforcement, without seeing the simple truth that if they hadn't pulled the rug out from underneath those people in the first place, they wouldn't NEED to spend more money on law enforcement.
The basic point is, it's gonna cost money anyways. You might as well spend the money getting people fed, housed, and educated, rather than wait for them to steal your car in order to buy foood for their families.
Posted by: Slacker | December 03, 2009 at 05:38 PM
Jim, Slacker pretty much responded to you the way I would have. So, Jim, you're against having armed forces to defend the United States, I assume, because they're supported by taxes. You must also be against Social Security and Medicare, because the money for these programs also comes from taxes.
No public schools. No public roads. No police or fire departments. We can't have any of this, because government is bad and people spending their own money is good. Jim, I don't want to live in your world. As Slacker said, it's a selfish, uncompassionate, unloving world.
Fortunately, it isn't the world we live in. So I repeat: I love taxes, because I trust that we, the people, working together, can form a more perfect country than if each of us did our own thing.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | December 03, 2009 at 09:42 PM
Why do you want them to have more of your money when they continually prove that they mismanage it? They don't respect the work people do for the tax dollars government gets. Why do you want to keep taking it in the posterior aperture from these creeps? They work for us, not the other way around.
I'm not an "anti-tax zealot". I'm NOT saying no money ever for roads, law enforcement, military, schools, etc. I'm willing to chip in for those things because I want them too. Rather, I'm saying NO MORE money UNTIL government proves it can live responsibly within its means. Right now, for them, that means trimming the fat and just saying no. If that means a few lean years, so be it. Better than total societal breakdown.
It's the tough love cliche'. I'm not giving any more loans to my alcoholic brother-in-law just so he can piss it away on booze and die of liver failure, and I don't want to give any more money to a government that wastes it and drives us into bankruptcy.
Government can't endlessly spend money it doesn't have to solve its problems. Monetizing debt only goes so far before you have hyper-inflation and a devaluation of currency. If we don't demand accountability from the incompetents and throw them out of office when they fail in their fiscal responsibilities then we're going to go belly up and all the public goodies, and this country, will go down the drain.
Wake up before it's too late.
Posted by: Jim | December 04, 2009 at 07:52 AM
Jim, those "creeps" in government are us. I used to work in state government -- at the medical school, and in health planning. I can assure you that the doctors, nurses, secretaries, and other people I worked with were not "creeps." Nor was I.
Just people working at their jobs, trying to do the best they could, simultaneously helping others while earning a living for themselves and their families.
No different from the private sector. In the past few days I've heard complaints from two acquaintances about their bosses. One guy works for state government. One in the private sector. Their complaints were similar: higher ups don't get it; they squelch creativity and initiative; too much inefficiency.
I'll tell you: I get a lot better service from the US Postal Service than I do from Regence Blue Cross, our health insurance company. There are incompetents working in the public sector; there are incompetents working in the public sector. No difference.
Except, we elect our public officials. We have the sort of government that voters want to have. So I don't get all this "them" references to government. It isn't like "they" are doing something to us like a dictator would. "We" choose our leaders, and "we" choose our laws, public policies, and social priorities.
I agree with you that government could be run better. So could private enterprise. I'm just opposed to demonizing government when it is us.
Posted by: Blogger Brian | December 04, 2009 at 09:44 AM
I'm not talking about the guy who mows the grass in a public park. Of course it's not his fault or the cop doing her job. It's the corrupt congresspeople who are sold out to special interests and pork projects that have no business being funded by an already strained government. It's bailing out failed businesses. It's the wild spending of money that isn't there. Funding wars we should not, need not be involved in. No problem. Just run the printing presses and monetize the debt with fiat currency and treasury issues bought up by China (who by the way is getting wise that they will never get paid and are buying gold instead). No worries that we and future generations have to pay down this thing that keeps growing like a cancer. It has to stop. Return to basics, the fundamental services instead of growing the out of control monster to fullfill an ideal that has no basis in fiscal reality. This doesn't mean people need to die in the street or starve to death. It simply means that the reality is there are winners and losers in life. In any system this is the case. Let's not destroy our freedom under the burden of crushing debt. Government isn't the answer. It is a tool of the people for certain things, but there is a limit. When it gets too big it becomes an unsustainable overbearing tyrant sucking us dry and taking away the freedom to succeed or fail based on our talents and initiative which is the principle that America was founded on.
Posted by: Jim | December 04, 2009 at 10:44 AM