Sunday, October 02, 2005

George Will and Apostacy

George Will's column in today's Post is a must-read. He discusses a growing controversy in Colorado, where Republican governor Bill Owens is under fire from anti-tax groups for daring to talk sense on fiscal matters. Owens is backing a referendum this fall that would suspend mandated revenue surplus rebates for five years, a necessary measure to prevent drastic and unpopular cuts to education and other important programs in the near future. Owens, rightly, fears that if those budget cuts are forced upon the state, voters may turn against fiscally responsible budget planning in the future.

Anti-tax groups, however, are outraged that Owens would back this referendum ... which, by the way, would not raise taxes, it would merely suspend rebates. Will writes "[t]hose now calling Owens an apostate from the church of conservatism need to answer two questions. Is one deviation from doctrinal purity sufficient grounds for excommunication? Is a political creed that is so monomaniacal about taxation that it allows no latitude for tacking with shifting fiscal winds a philosophy of governance or an ideological fetish?"

The second question there is key. Are the anti-tax crowd who hold so much sway in GOP circles really concerned with good government, or are they just obsessed with lower taxes? The two are not necessarily the same thing in every circumstance, and the sooner Republicans at every level of government recognize this, the better off we'll all be.


At 3:21 PM, Blogger pacatrue said...

I agree with George Will on this one. There has been an increasing movement to deal only with one side of a budgetary issue - usually the revenue side - and ignore the other. It's like a family saying: "Our family budget is messed up. Credit card debt is getting higher and we can barely make ends meet. I know what we will do! I'm going to reduce my hours working each week, so that I make less money. That way things will eventually get so bad, maybe after the bankruptcy, that I will be forced to reduce my spending. What a great plan!"

Incidentally, my random word verification today was veggifs in this bright green font. Makes me think of vegie gifs.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous Paul Wartenberg said...

I would answer that the anti-tax people are just obsessed with lower taxes. They simply don't care about government or don't see any need for it (they take that Randian objectivism crap waaaaaaaaaaay too seriously) other than to raid the treasury for money in their own pockets. Whenever any political hack tries to actually do some leading and do something sensible, pragmatic and workable, regardless of party, trust the extremist ideologoues on either side to raise a hissy fit over it because it'll upset their utopian visions. I'd like to take this opportunity to please ask Grover Norquist to visit New Orleans and see about rebuilding those levees with his own hands the next time he wants to shrink government to a drownable size, thank you very much Grover.

At 8:11 AM, Blogger yellojkt said...

Bush and corporate cronies are so obsessed with cutting taxes it has blinded them to other problems.

At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Heiuan said...

Hmmm...what a great question to come back to. Hiyas, Jeremy. Sorry to be gone so long. I moved out of Hurricane Alley to Georgia.

As for the question, seems like the tax-cut brigade is more concerned with finally getting to shove their ideology down the nation's throat than with whether those tax cuts are a good idea at this point in time.

On the whole, I believe that a certain level of government support must be funded with our taxes. It's up to our government to decide what level of support, and thus taxation, is warranted at any given time in history.

IMO, this is NOT the time to be gutting our revenue coffers. Those folks who are advocating further tax cuts are severely short-sighted.

But, hey...if Bush can get some of his big business buddies to finance his policies, then we really don't need any additional tax revenue. Of course, if the big business buddy refuses to financially underwrite Bush's efforts, then we have to pay for them somehow. And our international credit line is about maxed out.


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