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Uppity Wisconsin - Progressive Webmasters

« Asbestos Stocks Tumble On Large Volume | Main | Gay Activist Stars in Right-Wing Evangelical Film »

February 17, 2006

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Sven

Well said, Paul. Having lived through and reported on TABOR in Colorado, I think the carnival barker analogy is dead on. I do have to take issue with your fire department challenge, however.

TABOR was sold as a simple, common-sense approach to running government when in fact it made it infinitely more complex. The ballot measure was an elegant, 40-word statement on fiscal sobriety, while the actual amendment was 1,500 words of Talmudic jibberish that has kept the courts busy for 16 years. People voted for the Declaration of Independence and got Ted Kaczynski's manifesto.

That's the problem I have with the fire department example. I think the major mistake TABOR opponents made in Colorado, and continue to make elsewhere, is trying to explain the ins and outs of budgetary decisionmaking. This plays right into the hands of the barkers. They'll claim that governments intentionally complicate the process and use jargon to hide tax increases, and that TABOR will clarify the process.

A better tactic for the opposition, IMO, is to demonstrate how gobsmacking insane it would be to run a household budget using the TABOR formula. I can picture the campaign commercial right now: John Gard trying to explain to a couple with three kids and a mortgage why their budget baseline should be the husband's salary as a grocery clerk in high school.

Jon

Good points Sven.

I think it's long overdue for Democrats to step up and claim the title of fiscal responsibility. It seems like today's Democrats are scared of the old "Tax and Spend" label that Republicans used so effectively. I think we need to label the R's as the party of "borrow and spend," at least on a national level (35% growth in the Federal government in the last 5 years; record deficits).

On the local level, I'd love to see Democrats ask the R's exactly what would they cut? Police service? Fire service?

Let's ask the victims of Katrina what the role of government should be in their daily life, and whether the tax cuts for the rich have worked out well for them.

Jon

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