Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Heads I win, tails you lose"

I couldn't come up with a more appropriate label for the kicker, so I lifted it from Issac Laquedem's blog post. Its the most apt description of the kicker's absolute nonsensical concept: "Heads I win, tails you lose". Its a constant and consistent erosion of Oregon's ability to pay for the society in which we live.

I should probably take more time to visit the conservative blogs and periodicals that litter the internets. I sometimes don't give myself the appropriate time to see how the other half lives--which is probably why it shocks the hell out of me that people still rely on the same old stale rhetorical claptrap to cling to the kicker.

For example, comments in response to this Medford Mail editorial reprinted at the Statesman Journal made me want to scream at my monitor:

I don't want ANYONE telling me just exactly how much I "critically need".

Let's take the meals our County Commissioners eat, paid for by taxpayers. Every time they sit down to discuss something, they get a high priced meal. Maybe they should have a $7 limit on their stipend meals... and a 3 per week limit. I was listening to them on TV telling about all the different restaurants they were meeting at for different occasions. How is this to "Critical Need"? Eat at home and pack a lunch like the rest of us!

I Critically need every cent I earn!

Eventually they will figure out a way to keep the kicker without calling it a tax. Possession is nine tenths of the law...

Tax money doesn't belong to the individual taxpayer any more than than the the money used to pay the water bill belongs to the billpayer. That money is a collection of dollars for services rendered. The kicker is TAX money that's not being sent to the State. Period. Calling an apple a pear doesn't change the fact that its still an apple.

But look! There's more!

Common sense would say that Ron Saxton is right.

After all - isn't following the Oregon Constitution, on matters voted there by the Citizens (and taxpayers) of Oregon, common sense for a politician and servant of the people?

Common sense would tell you that Ron Saxton is a known liar. But more importantly, if we always supported everything that citizens consistently voted for (or against), slavery would have gone on for decades beyond where it ended. This is about doing the right thing for Oregon. Its about paying for the services we use.

But it doesn't end there, unfortunately:

The second to the last paragraph just urks me. Who are you to tell us "we don't critically need our kickers?" If we don't spend it on gas to get to work, or maybe a medical bill, then you will just spend it immediately on programs. So it is going to get spent no matter what.

I would rather spend my money on keeping me afloat, thanks anyway.

Wow...they've really shoved that "its MY money" meme to the brink, eh? Who am I to tell you that you don't "critically need our kickers"? I'm an Oregonian who believes that we have a responsibility to pay for infrastructure, education and services. I believe that its an honor to pay taxes to live in this beautiful state and I'm tired of the excuses of those trying to dodge that responsibility.

When the economy sucks and things revenues slow down, belt tightening the state budget is appropriate. But when the economy recovers, we should be able to reinvest and restore cut services. Instead we have this whacked out law that requires checks to be cut to Oregonians...only to wait for the next downturn in the economy and more cuts. We can never do better than where we are right this minute. Its a constant losing proposition.