Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Cold, Mean Season

Seattle's only remaining daily newspaper went on a rampage against an income tax initiative that would have imposed a 5% tax on households earning more than $400,000 or single payers over $200,000 for single (At 5%, the wealthiest 5% among us would be paying less than they do in the people's republic of Idaho, less than in Oregon and less than in California) They argued vehemently that we need to cut programs not raise taxes. And they are argued just as vehemently that we need to increase education spending and for God's sake we need more funding for the University of Washington. What's left to cut? Well, according to the Times and many Democrats and Republicans alike, government waste and special interests.

Hardly. What is left is the Basic Health Plan which provides health care to low income working families. The Security Lifeline Program which provides heath care and a very small living stipend for the mentally ill and those at the very bottom. TANF which provides income support and more importantly child care so low income mothers can actually hold a job.

Apparently, the voters agreed with the Times and voted down the income tax which would have been dedicated to health care and education. They passed an initiative that would require a 2/3 vote for any tax increases. They vote to cut taxes on candy, and pop (equal to about the funding level for the security lifeline). No taxes screamed the conventional pundits. We need to reset to a new smaller government.

Hmmm. Smaller for who? Smaller for the least fortunate among us. Smaller for the sick who have lost jobs and their health care benefits. Smaller for the mentally ill who are wandering the streets without medication. Smaller for mothers who, without child care, who can't afford to work.

It's a cold, mean season in Washington State.

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