"We need to make tough decisions," say Republicans, politicians, tea-heads and other hostiles who are bent on slashing government budgets for health care, parks, education, Social Security, and everything else that makes America a great place to live.
But these are all easy, easy decisions. The folks whose lives are damaged by such belt-tightening are poor, disorganized, preoccupied with day-to-day survival, unskilled at killer politics and can’t fight back.
A Georgia legislator recently said words to the effect, “You want to make tough decisions? Try slapping a capital gains tax on hedge fund managers’ net worth increases. Try taxing banks. Try removing corporate tax exemptions or taxing international financial transactions. Those are the tough decisions.”
He went on to say that powerful interests facing higher taxation can hire armies of suits with briefcases to flood legislatures with lobbyists, fund patsies who will vote “no” on such decisions and end the careers of those who have courage enough to stand up to them. They can and do fight back.
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Too many of us think that “tough” decisions to slash budgets are the only options available. I note that a recent entrant to the Olympia mayoral race will give voters a list of programs whose budgets might be cut and will “seek input” on which ones to ax.
Why doesn’t she also produce a list of tax exemptions that voters could eliminate?
Will some legislators or politicians please make the tough decision to empower the public to eliminate tax exemptions?