Monday, May 5, 2014

Drill, Baby, Drill

No one likes going to the dentist. But it’s smart to get periodic dental checkups and taking care of any problems. It’s something we pay for, maybe grudgingly, but most people do it.

No one enjoys paying taxes either. But most Democrats, at least, understand that, like dental checkups, paying taxes is necessary to maintain a decent quality of life.

That’s why I will never vote for candidates whose platform is simply based on reducing taxes, especially if they refuse to provide a definitive list of services that they will cut and the impact of those cuts. Among the many candidates who pursue this nonsensical approach are the two GOP candidates for Congress in New Jersey’s Third District, Steve Lonegan and Tom MacArthur.

It’s legitimate to grouse about how the current tax system is structured and how the funds are distributed. I do that all the time. I hate that my tax money goes to Chris Christie’s self-promotion, enriching his cronies like AshBritt, and to corporate welfare. I’d rather see my tax dollars invested in our children, our infrastructure, and our environment – all areas that will boost our economy in the long run. And if a candidate runs on a platform that would modestly increase taxes and gives good rationale on why that’s necessary, I would consider giving that person my vote.

Overall, taxes today are lower than they have been for the last half-century. And we are paying for decades of Republican disdain for government and jingoistic discourses on taxation. Our infrastructure is crumbling. We are not making the investments that our parents and grandparents did. I doubt that the Apollo moon-landing program (whose ancillary technology and biomedical benefits are tremendous) could have happened with the attitude that our so-called leaders have today. Nor would we have had the Interstate Highway System (a Republican initiative) that we take for granted today. Medical research is suffering, as is our environment. The long-term costs of this lack of investment will haunt generations to come.

So if a candidate espouses a knee-jerk policy of tax reduction without an honest evaluation of the consequences, I can guarantee he or she will not get my support. Life is full of trade-offs, and candidates must tell us where they stand. If they want to eat tons of candy and skip the dentist, they don’t deserve to represent us.

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