MsGeek.Org v2.0

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Heard the Word of Blog?

Monday, February 16, 2004

I have come to the realization recently that my politics have shifted. No more describing myself as a "small-l" libertarian or anything like that. I could probably still cop to being a "Jeffersonian" but the fact of the matter is, if I truly want to be honest, I need to come out of the closet and say that I'm a liberal. That's right. I'm a liberal and now officially on Ann Coulter's shit list as a traitor and a terrorist.

The conservatives have given liberals a bad name, when in reality they are making an even worse mess of the economy than any liberal has done in the past. A guaranteed conservative snarl word concept is the "Tax and Spend Liberal Politician." Guess what? The US now has a Spend and Spend Conservative Politician in the White House who doesn't give a shit where the money comes from just so long as taxes aren't raised. At least the Tax and Spend Liberals have the good sense to understand that spending needs to be backed up with revenues of some sort. The Bushistas won't tax to do this, they'll just happily run up the National Debt and let the next generation pay.

The fact of the matter is this: the services we desire, like a strong standing armed forces, a functional and fair law enforcement and judiciary, emergency services like firefighters and paramedics, roads that aren't littered with potholes and which don't collapse during earthquakes, and public education from before Kindergarten up to State University level, require money to run. Robert Heinlein's maxim applies here: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Bleed away revenues by lowering taxes without finding other means to fund these everyday needs, and you have to cut. Deeply. Into the muscle and the bone. Since Proposition 13 was passed in the late 1970s, most public goods have had all the fat starved out of them.

Most people who think we are "overtaxed" and clamor for more and more "tax relief" are the same people who will bitch that the public schools they send their children to are filthy cesspools that don't teach, who bitch about deteriorating roads, and bitch about the slow response times of police and fire personnel. Well folks, who's going to provide the money to clean up public schools, fix your damn roads, and hire more police and firefighters? Not you, you want less taxation. Fine. You've made your bed, lie in it.

Taxes are the price that we citizens pay for civilization. The less tax we pay, the less "civilized" our society becomes. Taxes need to be distributed fairly, with income dictating how much our share of the load is. Right now the tax code has been gamed so much by the wealthy and the politicians they buy so that the tax burden is most strongly felt by the middle classes. And every time conservatives suggest tax reform, every reform taken has been most strongly beneficial not to the middle classes that it is pitched to but to the wealthy.

America is not the most highly taxed nation on Earth. Most European and Scandinavian countries tax their citizens far more than we do, and have way better public services to show for it than we do. It's time to get real, realize that public services cost money, and figure out ways to pay for them in a fairer and more equitable way than we do now.