Monday, October 15, 2007

What are you drowning in your bathtub today?

Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform and a huge GWB fanboy, hopes it's your government: "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub."

Are Wisconsin legislators, most notably the 30 who signed onto the "No Tax Increase Pledge," taking their cues from Norquist?

Look, just like most law-abiding taxpayers, I don't want taxes to skyrocket and make it nigh unto impossible for me to make ends meet. But let's be honest with ourselves, that's not what we're talking about when we discuss our state's woefully and inexcusably late budget.

The attitude that Mr. Norquist and his ilk seem to have is the "I am an island and need no outside help" point of view more often associated with extreme Libertarians and those people who barricade themselves inside their homes/compounds with guns and made-up country flags.

Government needs restraints so that it doesn't become the type of all-seeing behemoth depicted in books like "1984," but it also needs to be used appropriately to provide for the kinds of services that one person or one community can't provide for alone.

You want to abolish a whole bunch of government associations, drastically cut taxes and basically fend for yourself? Fine. Can you put out your own fires, pave your own roads, school your children from kindergarten through college, protect your ecosystem, insure that you're treated and paid fairly at your job, police your streets, clean up and properly dispose of your garbage, make sure your means of getting electricity are safe and relatively clean, provide disaster relief for yourself and your neighbors in times of trouble, and find food in times of financial famine all on your own?

Really? Because I consider myself to be a fairly capable individual with certain basic survival skills, and I'm still fairly damn certain that I couldn't do all of that.

Look, if you want safer streets, clean water, air and food, and something resembling a decent standard of living, then you need to contribute to your society and not hoard everything to yourself, expecting to survive as an island. Public schools educate the children who then grow up to work in the jobs that provide many of the necessities and pleasantries we all rely on to get by. It also helps keep many of those children from turning to more illegal activities to make ends meet. And that's just one of the essential provisions of a good state budget.

There is no excuse for the kind of foot dragging, petulant tantrum the legislators are throwing. At this point, it has become dereliction of duty, and in any other state or private sector job, such a performance would be met with quick and appropriate punishment--probably with getting fired. Why aren't we holding our elected officials to the same standards? And why are our elected officials completely disregarding the will of the majority of their constituents in deference to the wild-eyed, disconnected-from-reality minority? As always, we should probably be following the money.


Mauricio Babilonia said...

Are Wisconsin legislators, most notably the 30 who signed onto the "No Tax Increase Pledge," taking their cues from Norquist?


Mauricio Babilonia said...
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The Lost Albatross