Yes, I really mean that those of us who have an income above subsistence level need to up the ante. Most state governments, most notably my state of California, are facing record defecits and as a consequence cutting off assistance to those who need it most. We do so because despite the myths, there is not nearly the "fat" in government conservatives so often bleat about. The alternatives are cut aid to the poor and infirm or raise taxes. The latter is the only moral route.
Lets get some of the myths out of the way first. A recent study of California budgets over the past decade shows that instead of balooning they have very closely tracked population growth and inflation. Governor Scharzenegger, having won on a promise of cutting waste from government, has since admitted there isn’t much to cut.
Another myth is that if we raise taxes we will depress a struggling economy. This storyline goes that business would either depress its profit margin or pass the tax increase along to the consumer, thereby reducing the amount of goods sold and hence the economy. There is, however, little empirical evidence of this effect. Those who are above subsistence level will buy and spend even with a small increase in cost. We do it all the time, it is called inflation.
Lastly, as was admirably shown in the Los Angeles Times story I alluded to above , the myth that government has grown dramatically recently is false.
So we are left with the stark choice of ending or sharply reducing the amount we spend for schools, local government functions such as police and fire, aid the the infirm, seniors and those down on their luck; or raising more income for government to meet those needs. If I thought for a moment that we could meet those needs by private means I would say bravo! But that is not happening and has never happened on the scale we face today.
Early Americans may have helped each other when there was need through direct aid, their church or synogogue or other charitable means. But we are no longer that nation and have not been for a long time. The last Great Depression made clear that private charity is insufficient for the need. This one is confirming that conclusion.
California proposes to eliminate all funding for a program to help the poor with AIDS drugs, eliminate or sharply reduce programs for senior health care, child health care and a wide range of other programs that are proven effective, efficient and essential. To do so strikes at the heart of our selves as citizens. It makes a mockery of the claim we are a Christian nation, and confirms the darkest approbriation that we are selfish, narcisstic and juvenile to the core as a people.
When your brother or sister comes up short, has an emergency, or just plain needs help, I hope you are there for them and cinch your belt a bit to make it possible for them to survive. Well, we are all part of a single family of humankind and some of us really need help. Some of us will die a horrible death without that help.
Tell your representatives in the state house, Congress and your local government that you want them to raise taxes now so others do not suffer unfairly.