August 3, 2007

This is conservatism?

Natalie is equally annoyed at the anti-tax movement:
"It's events like this that make me so angry at the Republican philosophy of government. Sure, everyone wants to get rid of waste and ridiculous spending in our government, but whittling the system down so much that it cannot protect and serve us is stupid. Do those on the right not realize how much we rely on this shared system we have? Schools, roads, fire, police, food inspection, and more VERY important things! It's almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you cut off funding so that you cripple government services, of COURSE they will do a poor job. Slacktivist notes that Minnesota's Republican governor vetoed a transportation package earlier this year, based on his promise to avoid any new taxes:"

Rick Perlstein calls this "your government on conservatism," and also reminds us that not everyone was fooled:
"When Howard Dean ran for president, he said George Bush's federal tax cuts were a mirage--that every dollar states and municipalities could not get from the federal government for essential services they would have to raise on their own. They would actually turn out to be a tax hike--if, that is, states and municipalities were able to summon the political will to raise taxes at all. Some have had a hard time doing that.

And now the bill is coming due. The ground is opening up beneath our feet, swallowing people and machines."

Seriously. I am so tired of the anti-tax mantra. It is almost like a homeowner refusing to do basic maintenance on their house. Needs a new roof? Nope, that is boring. Instead, I will buy a new stadium, or invade someone. I heard Tucker Carlson suggest that privatizing was the answer. That seems to be the Republican vision of an infrastructure that only those with money can use.

For people who lament and romanticize small town life, Republicans seem particularly bad at community.


Wasp Jerky said...

See, the trick is for local officials to say funds for projects like this are for "homeland security." If you're repairing bridges to fight the terrorists, then surely taxpayers will be OK with it.

steve s said...

I'll throw in my two cents on taxes from my conservative prospective. I just paid my summer property taxes and wish they weren't so high. I also wish some of the other taxes I had to pay weren't so high.

Personally, I think the problem with some taxes is what they are used for. I have no problem with my tax money funding basic infrastructure, such as roads, water, sewer, fire and police. I also have no problem with making sure teachers receive good compensation and that all children have access to mental and physical health care. There are probably other things I am forgetting, but you get the picture.

The problem is that, along with what I mentioned, various levels of gov't fund things that I don't think they should. Locally, our school district asks for millage increases every few years. I generally vote no because I think they spend a fair amount on flashy things that have little to do with education. They spent several million putting pools in every school and building an elaborate football stadium.

I am not anti-tax, per se, I am just 'let us make better use of the taxpayer money'.

Streak said...

Steve, I understand. I really do. But conservatives have followed the "no tax is good" to a very horrible end. Yes, there may be waste involved, but that is true in private enterprise as well.

My suggestion is that Republicans get rid of the "no new taxes pledges" and the Grover Norquists and start talking about good taxation. Opposing waste is not bad at all.

But in all seriousness, we are looking at an infrastructure collapse if we don't come together and actually invest in the basics.

Kevin said...

Maybe it's different up here in Canada, but most folks here (even in anti-tax, anti-government, pro-gun Alberta) are happy to pay taxes when they see benefit or a compelling vision behind it.

Here in Alberta we have user-fees (definitely "not a tax") for some government services, which, of course, excludes those who lack the means to pay for such services.

But, on the whole, here in "socialist" Canada, taxes are the price we pay for our standard of living (to paraphrase an American jurist). And we have the kick ass health care system to prove it.


steve s said...

I have always viewed fiscal conservatism as a kind of pragmatic spending. I think that waste should be curbed and programs should have to prove that they are working. Things like D.A.R.E. and abstinence only seem to not do what they are supposed to do. Why do they still receive funding?

My Canadian friends from Alberta seem to like their health care. OTOH, my friends from Newfoundland say theirs sucks and that they wish they had one like they had in Alberta.

ubub said...

I can't think of anyone who supports wasteful government spending, even those of us who work for the government.

Disagreements tend to emerge over the proper role of government, whether particular expenditures are on target, etc. The DARE and abstinence only examples also illustrate the importance of ideology in making policy decisions.

Streak said...

good point, ubub. Find people who support wasteful government and you will be in the same room where the slogans are "I hate family" and "puppies are not cute."

What bugs me is something that SOF said the other day--"hey aren't roads part of what even the hardcore conservatives see as a Government responsibility?"

Of course, we have so-called conservatives trying to privatize the military, so nothing is beyond their greed. I would respect conservatives oh so much more if they hadn't elected such morons (and that is far more than Bush and Cheney).

Kevin said...

steve s,

You're right. The Canadian health care system isn't equal across the country. I think that's because folks in provinces such as, say, Newfoundland, have more trouble attracting physicians than Alberta, BC, or Ontario.


Streak said...

Steve, do any of your Canadian friends wish they had a healthcare system like ours? :)

steve s said...

Some of them do, but it depends on whether they have insurance and what kind of health problems they have. The ones that are in decent health and only need occasional care have few complaints. My one friend with serious health problems has had a lot of trouble getting timely care.

Kevin, I like Newfoundland and was raised in fairly rural area, but I can see why they would have a hard time recruiting doctors.