Saturday, May 13, 2006

Say It Ain't So, Steve

Negative ads are common in politics so I'm not particularly upset with Westly abandoning a "positive" campaign. That's his perogative and the need to go "negative" is indicative of Angelides' increasing appeal as more people find out about him.

What I do object to is Westly's cowering behind Angelides proposed tax increases. I'm no knee-jerk tax and spend liberal, but our long term fiscal stability means understanding the impact of issuing bonds to support popular programs. All Californians want more and better services and any leader who wants to continue supporting these programs is a fool if they think they can sustain them without dramatically increasing revenues. It's also equally foolish--or deliberately misleading and disingenuous--to claim that Angelides does not have a plan beyond just tax increases.

One rather popular person, Bill Clinton, realized that to get the country on the right fiscal track, we all needed to sacrifice with more taxes--including the most wealthy. The Democrats, by and large, lost control of the House in 1994 due to the Clinton Budget bill. This happened because brave leaders recognized the need to actually pay for what we all want while cowardly and opportunistic politicians were running around saying how bad the economy would be with these modest tax increases, including increases to the top marginal rate (i.e. the wealthiest). All these naysayers were proved to be demonstrably and grossly inaccurate in saying these tax increases would have a negative effect on "average" Americans and the economy as a whole. Rather than living through the doom and gloom of these opportunists, the Clinton years saw one of the longest economic expansions in history. There was one thing devestating about these tax cuts, though. And that is that opportunistic politicians used them to their advantage and we ended up with the current GOP controlled House.

I already pointed out that the poorest California families pay more in taxes than the wealthiest:
Measured as a share of family income, California’s poorest families pay the most in taxes. The poorest fifth of the state’s non-elderly families, with an average income of $11,100, spent 11.3 percent of their income on state taxes in 2002. In comparison, the wealthiest 1 percent, with an average income of $1.6 million, spent 7.2 percent of their income on state taxes.
Even ignoring the need for progressive taxation, basic decency requires that we at least try to fix this appalling disparity.

Furthermore, as I already noted, the recent federal tax bill--passed by several opportunists from the Clinton budget battle--gives most of this "relief" to the wealthiest. What we have here is the wealthiest Californians paying less, percentage wise, in taxes and then getting even further decreases in tax liability from the GOP Congress. This isn't even talking about progressive taxation so "class warfare" objections need not apply.

Shame on any politician who repeats 1994 GOP talking points! The talking points were so astonishingly wrong then, why should we believe them now?

Postscript: I was appalled--appalled!--to find out from Westly that I will have to pay more for them bottles of Zinfindel and Pinot Noir!


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