Friday, November 12, 2010

A New Way to Blog (For me anyway!)

My last post was three months ago at the end of August. It's tough to keep a blog audience when you're that unreliable. My apologies. I'm going to try to be more consistent, and I'm going to do that by trying a new way to blog.

A friend of mine has had great success and picked up a number of followers by sticking to three topics, so I thought I might travel down that road. I like politics (or rather making fun of politicians). I like writing about my kids. And I suppose I should do some stuff on writing and books since that's the impetus for having a blog in the first place. I promise to try to be funny (What did the girl from West Virginia say on her honeymoon? "Not so hard Daddy or you'll crush my Malboros!")--my friend, Shalee, says that's a sick joke, and she's not even from West Virginia--or at least poignant.

So let's try politics first:

"No nation ever taxed itself into prosperity." Ronald Reagan

"We've demonized taxes. We've created almost the idea that they're a metaphysical evil. It's rank demagoguery. To stand before the public and rub raw this anti-tax sentiment, the Republican Party, as much as it pains me to say this, should be ashamed of themselves." Former Reagan budget director David Stockman.

I used to say that if I could keep the Democrats out of my wallet and the Republicans out of my bedroom, I'd be a happy man. When Bill met Monica, Newt Gingrich dumped his cancer stricken wife while she was in the hospital, and Sanford trekked the Appalachian Trail all the way to Argentina, the "party of values" tag line died for both groups. So that leaves us to talk about taxes.

The Republican mantra has been to limit government and to leave money in the taxpayers' pockets so they can decide how to best spend it. In South Carolina, we tried that with Act 388 that slashed property taxes for school funding and replaced it with a penny sales tax. The result? A massive loss of school dollars, teacher furloughs, staff layoffs, larger class sizes, and a moratorium on building depserately needed new schools.

Mark Sanford limited our government all right, and his limits threw hundreds, if not thousands, of mentally ill people out of residential treatment and onto the streets. And it's only the legislature that has kept him from destroying public and higher education.

We could easily cut all our taxes, but you might want to rethink that as your fat-cat ass is having a heart attack and no ambulance comes to take you to the ER because nobody funded emergency services--those damn evil taxes!

Want some tax cuts? Here are a few suggestions: Let's not give a football coach a taxpayer-funded $100,000 bonus for doing what should be his job every season--winning the SEC East--while at the same time you're laying off adjunct faculty.

When you're looking for a way to fund public transportation in the city, let's not pay a consulting firm $100,000 taxpayer dollars for suggestions any of your riders could have given you for free.

When you're laying off city workers, increasing their insurance premiums, and stealing away their vacation, perhaps you could eliminate the job that has a person riding around in neighborhoods leveling fines for simply leaving trash roll carts out past 7:30 pm on the day of service. (We have an actual city ordinance prohibiting it).

Tourism is the number one industry in this state, but the City of Columbia, in an effort to get tourist dollars, has a poor history of pouring bucket loads of taxpayer money into losing ventures and putting citizens in the position of making up the difference so that the entrepreneurs who should be taking the risks don't lose money. Do the Three Rivers Music Festival (never made a profit), Air South (bankrupt), MayFest (tanked),  or the city-financed hotel (illegal) ring a bell?

And what about the $30 million in taxpayer funds S.C. State University got to build the Clyburn Transportation Center, which was supposed to be completed TWELVE years ago. The missing money is now under a state police investigation. Lovely.

Now please, my dear elected officials, tell me again how so very hard it is to find places to cut your budgets.

1 comment:

  1. At least you are writing again. The essential issue is not to tax or not. Some taxes will always be appropriate. The essential issue is what is the role of government. Safety(fire and police), clean water, in some instances handling trash, libraries, public parks and recreation, and maybe a few smaller things like that. The role of government is not to run festivals, build speculative buildings, "create jobs", or the myriad other things into which we have allowed the government to insert its hands. If we could return to a truly limited government then we woud see our taxes go down as the various projects, initiatives, and other boondoggles were eliminated.