Humorous, sarcastic and in your face opinion about politics and american culture
I live in South Carolina, as you know. It has a Republican governor, a Republican Senate (27R, 19D), and a Republican House (73R, 51D). The only Democrat occupying a statewide office is the education superintendent. Anyway, all this government does is cut taxes, but they can't ever balance the budget. And now the state employees are not getting their annual 2-3% raise because there is a budget shortfall. And social services and schools are having to deal with funding cuts as well. By the way, the state legislature voted to increase their own pensions despite everyone else having to tighten their belts.Nobody wants to pay higher taxes, but people should understand that you never get something for nothing. If you want your roads improved, you need money to pay for them. If you need textbooks for your schools, you need money to pay for them. If you want to hire more police officers, you need money to pay for them.Self-reliance is a great concept and I agree with it, but only to a certain extent. Not everyone is a member of a church or has a strong community they can turn to in times of need. And even if the government is not supposed to give handouts or take care of the people, it should at least be able to fully fund its public services. They can't even do that. They're even cutting bus routes because of insufficient funding! How can people who are trying to save money by not driving even get to work? Not everybody can carpool. Should they stay home?Anyway, it is quite obvious that the tax-cutting strategy has failed in South Carolina, but the GOP cannot blame the evil "tax and spend" Democrats for driving the budget over the cliff. The Democrats have been in the political wilderness in this state for years and do not own this problem at all. Would you believe me if I told you the legislature was actually debating making lap dances illegal in adult clubs and banning sex toys? Where are the priorities?South Carolina has the lowest cigarette tax in the country (7 cents a pack) and some of the lowest gas taxes as well. (The statewide average is about $3.30.) We only pay $300 in car taxes whenever we buy a new car, regardless of the total value of the car. And the legislature decided to lower property taxes and offset it by increasing the sales and food taxes. That's a lot of tax cuts and low taxes, right? It sounds good on paper, but it has turned out to be a disaster because people are spending less money because goods are more expensive. Gas is also cutting into the money people would normally spend on some other taxable product. Now the government is in the red, which affects everyone.Anyway, I would gladly pay extra money in taxes if that meant bringing South Carolina up from being ranked 48th or 49th in so many areas. We don't have enough police officers, morale among state employees is low, our road system can't keep up with demand, and we have the famous "Corridor of Shame" of failing public schools along I-95 that can't even afford musical instruments for their band classes. And if you say that band classes are unnecessary, then you're basically saying that these children should find some other hobby (even if that means sending them to the streets after school).I guess people who don't like it here could move, but home is home, right? And not everyone can afford to move.In the end, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. This self-reliance and tax-cutting thing just isn't working here. People are really, really struggling. But I guess if you've got yours, then nothing else matters.
Anthony, I am sure Utah would be considered in the same boat as SC but economically Utah is thriving, though the jobs here are low paying and not condusive to the rising cost of living, we do have an extremely low unemployment rate. Arizona has a dem gov. and a dominant rep. house. The taxes are low and the economy fluctuates like every other state. Utah is dominant republican and has higher taxes than AZ, but UT had a surplus this year. There are examples of states dominated by dems that have crappy economys, such as California. Poor management happens on both sides of the aisle. I don't think it is fair to characterize my philosphy as self-indulgent when it is an economic question. I don't think it is a state management question either. Really it comes down to the fact that the taxes that will be raised will not be lower income brackets. Higher income brackets that already carry the majority of the tax burden are the ones the dems want to tax even more. To state that I get mine and that is all that matters is an insinuation of greed and selfishness and it is really an ideology of economics. If the spending americans have no money to spend it slows the market and that in return leads to job cuts and that leads to more slow spending and so on and so on. I understand that tax dollars are used for the betterment of society, but don't act like the government does such a good job of spending it that they should get more. thanks for the comment. :)N
Nikki, you asked a good question. Read the proposed tax plans for both Obama and Hillary right from their websites. Not good! Anthony correctly stated that you don't get something for nothing. However, you're not going to fill the govt coffers with any additional tax revenue by giving tax breaks to those who aren't paying taxes anyway, but that is what their campaigns are about. It seems silly to want to complain about the 'rich' getting all the tax breaks while their proposed plans for their 'middle class' focus on those taxpayers in the EITC threshhold ($15k-$39k ann adj inc). As for Anthony's description of SC, sounds like the property tax reduction was a bad idea. States rely on that for police, roads, etc... The cigarette tax argument is old and the pros & cons of that have been fought in many states. Self-reliance is meant to be just that. I'm not sure I understand the boundaries on that (i.e. church involvement?) and about not being able to buy instruments for the school band... er go, kids get in trouble after school? Let's say you paid $1,000 more in property tax on your house... do you really trust the SC govt to make the appropriate allocation to education and on down the line to the high school band class. I doubt it! I would say if that is a cause you are passionate about (and it sounds like a good one) that you'd be better off buying $1k of instruments for the kids and taking the donation deduction yourself. Taxes are going to be a key issue in this campaign and I'm sure there's plenty of discussion lying ahead.
What do you think about a flat tax?By the way, when I said "if you get yours," I was using "you" rhetorically, not talking about "you" specifically.One other thing--Republicans are the ones who talk about "fiscal responsibility." There seems to be a bit of disconnect there. Whenever I hear SC politicians talk about this, I think about the near $90 million budget shortfall and the lack of an annual raise for state employees while the legislators sweeten their pensions.More transparency and perhaps balanced budget requirements would be good avenues to consider, I think. But the fact remains that at least in SC, the current system is not working.
Anthony the same thing happened in Utah a few years ago. Teachers in Utah make such low salaries it is almost criminal, and MOST people think their salaries should be raised signifacantly. As a matter of fact teacher salaries are soooo bad here that there is a teacher shortage of crisis proportions. I am definately a higher teacher salary republican...Governor Hunstsman is doing what he can but he is fighting with his own party on this, its ridiculous. Of course the state legislature gave themselves raises...I was incensed and wrote a letter to the editor. I would think fiscal responsibility would be a non-partisan issue. I agree with your last paragraph. Something needs to occur. :)N
i think the Dems catch some illness, I mean maybe something is on the short bus windows they lick!
Anthony - whether it be a Flat Tax like Steve Forbes pushed in his prez runs... or Fair Tax like Gomer Huckabee stumped about this year, debate is guaranteed, but change is unlikely. EVERYONE wants shorter forms & instructions, simpler rates & calculations, and more transparency and accountability for spending & distribution. Easier said than done! A flat tax may work at the state level (in fact, I believe there are already a handful of states with some form of a flat tax), but I don't see it happening at the Fed level. First of all, Dems will ALWAYS oppose a flat or fair tax because of they cannot give up the redistributive effect of progressive taxes. Does SC have a flat tax? I don't think people want to give up common deductions like mortgage interest and church donations. A flat tax could eliminate that very popular incentive of 'home ownership'. It comes down to revenue neutrality. Will these other tax plans really maintain and provide enough revenue to effectively run the govt? Therein lies my opinion. I don't think it's an issue of scrapping the IRS, junking the tax code, or implementing one of these other models. IT IS SIMPLY HOW OUR TAX DOLLARS ARE SPENT. (No, I'm not a Ron Paul-ite, but he's right on that point)You're right Repubs don't have a lot of credibility right now on fiscal responsibility, but if your tax bill and paycheck are concerns for the next administration... I'd take a long look and listen to all three candidates (McCain wins that debate hands down). I mean Obama's 'Simple Plan' of having the govt DO YOUR TAXES FOR YOU?? based on info from your W2 and bank info?? The govt sends you the forms already filled out BY THEM, and you just need to sign it and send it in with your check?? and your taxes will only take 5 minutes? Wow! I'm gonna have to hear him explain that theory a little deeper. I enjoy your comments on this blog and others.
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