Monday, January 18, 2010

In Favor of Oregon Ballot Measures 66 and 67

A news report, by Kohr Harlan, a few nights ago on Local 6 News featured a couple of Portland pizza restaurant owners, one who supports ballot Measures 66 and 67 and one who adamantly opposes them. Obviously, one of them comes out on the right side of the issues and the other one doesn’t. But how do we decide which is which?

Pat Desievri, owner of New York New York Italian restaurant in Southwest Portland, feels that the State of Oregon’s spending is out of control and that the State needs to tighten its belt during this recession, just as everyone else must do. While this may appear to be logical on the face of it, the reality goes much deeper—as we shall soon see.

Phil Gessner, owner of Escape From New York Pizza in Northwest Portland, may or may not like the idea of new taxes, but he embraces them because he’s smart enough to know that short-term strategies do not fix long-term problems, and that any society that disenfranchises education will itself eventually become disenfranchised.

How do two business people who essentially operate the same type of business come to be at odds over the issue of new taxes? Individual viewpoints arising out of personal circumstances, past experiences, and education and indoctrination no doubt have a lot to do with it. Mostly, though, I think it’s a failure of one of the parties to fully understand and appreciate the role government plays in maintaining an orderly society and to comprehend the reasons why government’s hunger for ever-increasing amounts of money is never satiated.

It’s easy to shake an angry fist at politicians who call for more taxes, much easier than, say, doing a little research to determine why higher taxes (or new taxes) may be necessary. Believe it or not, it’s not always corruption, greed, or incompetence that causes various government officials to beg for more tax revenue. Sometimes it’s because the various government agencies tasked with providing services to people are expected to provide for more people while spending less money in the process of doing it. The problem is too many people, not a shortage of resources. That, and corporations hoarding what resources do exist.

Sure, you can starve the government or drown it in a bathtub, but at what cost? Are we really ready to lay the groundwork for widespread social upheaval? And if downsizing the government is such a good thing, wouldn’t it be better to eliminate it entirely?

Only if you want to return to the chaos and brutality of the Wild, Wild West.

Annie, get your gun.

Q >>>