« Jesus and Hillary | Main | Click at your own risk »

My biggest problem with Democrats

Note to my non-New Jersey readers: Don't be scared away by this post. Although I begin it by discussing Garden State politics, the crux of this post is applicable on a national scale.

Here in New Jersey, our newly minted governor Jon Corzine has just announced a slew of new tax increases -- two billion dollars worth, in fact. Yes, this means he's broken two of his campaign promises already. And no, I'm not surprised.

Needless to say, I have been unhappy with these developments. What's bugged me even more, though, is the reaction of many New Jersey Democrats to this abomination.

"Yeah, of course there's waste in the budget," they tell me. "...but stop whining about it. Yes, of course there's graft and corruption... but let's just tighten our belts. Yes, of course, this is hard on already-overtaxed New Jersey families... but we want our schools to be funded."

Well excuse me, but what the f*ck? If you want to convince me that the Democratic Party is the new home for fiscal conservatives, this is not the way to do it!

Look, here's the deal. There are plenty of us economic conservatives out there, for whom social issues are secondary. We have tended Republican in the past, but we have been betrayed by the Republican Party -- betrayed wholly and utterly.

Democrats are trying to capitalize on this Republican failure. People like Howard Dean, Paul Hackett and others are trying to convince people like me that the Democratic Party should be our new home.

We're a bit skeptical of Democrats, given our history and theirs. Nonetheless, we're willing to be courted. Hell, we're eager to be courted. We desperately want to believe that at least one major party will do more than pay lip service to constraining government spending. If that party turns out to be the Democrats, then so be it. Sign me up.

But when Democrats I know talk this kind of nonsense? That we should sit still and shut up while our already-high taxes are raised even further? Nevermind that the root causes of the current crisis go unaddressed, we should shut up because California has even higher taxes, or because Jon Corzine inherited this mess, or because we want our schools fully funded, or for whatever reason, we should just suck it up and stop whining?

Well excuse me, but that's just crap. And worse than that, it does nothing but reinforce every negative stereotype we have against the Democrats on fiscal policy -- that you believe wasteful spending is just A-okay, so long as taxes are high enough to balance the budget. If Corzine had made a serious attempt to reduce waste and eliminate corruption but was still forced to raise taxes, I could be brought on board, but that ain't what happened -- not by a long shot.

You're losing us, dammit! We don't want to be lost, but you're losing us! And perhaps you still don't get it, but you need us if your party is ever again going to be successful on a national level. You need the people who are turned off by the conservatives' social agenda, but fear that voting for a Democrat will lead to an increased tax burden.

At the very time you need to be reassuring us, you're reinforcing our worst fears about you. And that's a damn shame.


Once again a Democrat takes office and is forced to face a Republican fiscal mess. Not only is he stuck cleaning it up, he will have to put up with the Republican distortions about being a tax crazed Democrat.

Corzine has Whitman's mess, just as Clinton had Reagan's mess...

Pity the poor Democrat that becomes the next president and has to deal with Bush's mess.

Sorry Bob, that's just crap. Whitman has been gone for 5 years now. During most of that time, New Jersey's tax revenues have increased by an average of 8 percent annually. We'd be in fine shape if spending hadn't exploded exponential in the interim.

More importantly, Corzine isn't "cleaning up" a damn thing. He's leaving the mess intact and raising taxes to fund it.

Bob, what the hell was McGreevy doing during those years?

And, lest you have missed this little factoid, your party has controlled both houses in Trenton for some time now.

For crying out loud, do you guys just selectively elide whatever nasty facts you decide may make your argument just a tad weaker?

Barry, love you man, but I really wish you would stop trying to show your willingness to listen when there has never been a single attempt from anyone on their side to do the same.

I recall when you did this in 2004 and got nowhere.

Do you really expect a fair and open debate where Democrats admit failures, other than the ridiculous statements that 'we've been too nice to Bush' and 'we need to get tougher'?

When was the last, hell the first time, any Democrat ever expressed doubts about the policies of their party in these pages or on any blog? They are in lockstep, my friend, and intend to remain so until they can reacquire power in DC.

Don't waste your time, brother, 'cause they aint listening.

How many times does this have to be shown before it sinks in, Bob?

Higher tax rates = LOWER TAX REVENUES! Virtually EVERY time.

Unfortunately Republicans, despite cutting tax RATES and INCREASING tax revenues, have NEVER CUT TAXES ENOUGH to require the wholesale slashing of government programs. What's more they've, as of late, become as much spendthrifts as the Democrats ever were.

In fact, they've even outspent their increased tax revenues!

THAT is their sin - increasing revenues.

The government simply doesn't need any more money. It's like a big bum - if you give it money, it'll only waste it. In fact, it's like one of those morbidly obese 1,000 pound mutha-fu&%ers, if you feed it, it only wants more...and more and MORE.

The Democrats have raised tax rates often and ALWAYS with disastrous results.

In fact, there's NO DOUBT that the two most fiscally irresponsible and economically disastrous administrations of the 20th Century (if not in all of America's history) have been LBJ's & Jimmy Carter's - two Democratic administrations that had Democratic controlled Congresses as well.

A case in point that PROVES that lower rates = higher revenues, is the recent Cap Gains rate cuts. The Cap Gains revenues over the last two years came in "significantly over" the projected revenues that were based on the earlier, higher rates!

Naive folks ask "how can you justify "excessive spending" on war, but not on "helping people?"

The question is, frankly, for want of a better word, retarded.

First off, "social programs" have never been shown to have "helped" anyone. In fact, mostly they mire people in poverty and dependence.

Secondly wars aren't chosen - we didn't choose WW II - Pearl Harbor started that one.

Likewise, we didn't look to fight the forces of radicalized Islam and the rogue nations that sponsor and harbor those jihadists, 9/11 started that fight.

Beyond that, wars, for better, or worse, CAN grow an economy. They can create jobs abd demand for exotic goods like Tanks, body armor and RPGs.

Wars create opportunities that social programs can never put forth.

This inane idea that Democrats "have to come in and force the childish citizenry to pay up for the wild party they just threw, by hiking taxes and expanding "sensible government" is, well, it's idiotic...especially in light of the FACT that lowered tax rates have BEEN SHOWN raise tax revenues.

Why is any of that at all hard to understand?

1. Barry, I guess you just missed the part about the cut backs in spending.

2. Mal, McGreevy was more interested in things other than governing. He didn't do his job.

3. JMK, I can tell you didn't have to live through Whitman's tax 'cuts'. Tax cuts that moderately reduced income tax but drove property tax through the roof.

She and her buddies in Bedminster made out like bandits while the rest of us poor New Jersey slobs were left to pick up the tab.

I can tell you didn't have to live through Whitman's tax 'cuts'. Tax cuts that moderately reduced income tax but drove property tax through the roof.

Here's where it becomes the responsibility of the citizens ro rein in their own local government. When they raise their property taxes, they are avoiding tightening their belts, uinstead choosing to pass their loss in state revenue back to you, Bob.

It is important that the voters see that for what it is and vote the rascals out of office, regardless of party. Otherwise they win and we lose.

Whitman was faced with two choices either cut State spending drastically, or raise taxes elsewhere (ie Property Taxes, etc).

Whitman, a socially Liberal, "Country Club (Rockefeller) Republican chose the latter course.

Are you saying that places like NYC, Conn & NJ NEED all that State and local spending?


I don't see where working folks get all that much in local services, almost NONE, if you send your kids to parochial schools.

She shudda cut STate spending Bob...and laid off a bunch of those State patronage mill "office workers."

The FACT is that the Cap Gains rate was recently cut.

Opponents cried about the spectre of decreasing revenues. Unfortunately, from my view (because we DO NEED decreasing revenues), Cap Gains revenues soared significantly ABOVE the original projections based on the old rates!

Likewise, when income tax rates are raised, higher income people tax defer more of their incomes and revenues shrink.

Those are the stark and unvarnished realities of tax policy.

JMK, she cut income tax and with it state aid to local communities. The property taxes went up to make up for the loss. She claimed to have cut taxes but it’s a lie.

That's the mess we have today. Thank goodness we have a responsible Democrat in office willing to take on the task of cleaning up Whitman’s mess.

Bob, it seems you need to make up your mind. If she "lied" about cutting taxes, then how did her tax cuts cause a "mess" that Corzine has to dig out of? I think you have to pick one.

I swear, New Jersey is an amazing state. It's been monolithically Democratic for at least 5 years now, yet *every* problem it has is due to Republicans. Amazing, that.

Make up my mind? What are you talking about?

Whitman cut income tax, which drove up property taxes due to the loss in funding to local communities while increasing spending. She borrowed to make up for the lost revenue.

She's like every other modern Republican; only paying lip service to fiscal restraint.

And yes, Barry, you're right. It is amazing how Republican seem to be responsible for a lion's share of the mess our country is in.

Gov. Whitman's cutting the State income tax DIDN'T "drive up" property taxes, Bob.

There were a myriad of choices to deal with any resulting revenue shortfalls - raise sales taxes, raise property taxes, OR cut government services.

She and the NJ legislature chose choice B.

Since you avoided the federal issue - federal income tax rate cuts down to about 20% actually RAISE tax revenues as more people take more of their incomes non-deferred - I presume you accept that bit of tax policy wisdom.

On a local level, all tax policy is more time sensitive, so tax cuts = revenue cuts.

But that's NOT bad at all!

What has the State of NJ ever done for you Bob?

The State of NY could do a lot less and I'd be pretty happy about it.

In fact, I'd like to see Federal REVENUES cut 20% (whatever sort of tax cut it would take to accomplish that) and see federal "services" by a corresponding 20%. You could start with a little waste management by jettisoning the Deptartments of Education and Energy.

Getting the feds out of both the energy and educational business would be a fine start.

I don't know which State "services" you'd accept being cut (take your pick), but I'm sure we could cut 30% of NY's & NJ's budgets without too much pain.

>Gov. Whitman's cutting the State income tax DIDN'T "drive up" property taxes, Bob.

Of course they did, but indirectly.

And NJ hasn't done all that much for me; just because I live here doesn't mean I like it.

I'm ready to join you in cutting state spending. I'll bet we'd do a better job than the politicos we got now.

A decrease in, for instance, income tax revenues, DOES NOT "drive up" other taxes.

A reduction in some revenues neither directly, nor indirectly mandates a rise in other tax revenues to make up the shortfall, so long as there exists another alternative - reducing spending and services...especially duplicated services, which most governments have in abundance.

Whitman along with NJ's legislature took the easier path, to raise "other taxes." In fact, they took the easiest path, as State property taxes are deductible, whereas State sales taxes are not.

The harder path would've been to decrease NJ State spending, but that would mean STate worker layoffs, and other such unpleasant things. Things made all the more unpleasant by the inane games played by unelected bureaucrats that goes something like this;

Gov. Whitman and NJ Legislature (NJPols) to State Educational administrator: "We need a 10% across the board cut in spending from every agency.

Administrator: "That'll mean we'll have to layoff five hundred teachers and close a half dozen schools."

NJPols: "Why that's outrageous!"

Administrator: "Yeah, but that's what it'll take to effect that kind of cut. Draconian cuts require draconian measures."

NJPols: "Why the residents will revolt!"

Administrator: "Yeah, probably, that's why I'd find another way."

And every other administrator would play the same game, pretending that there is no fat in their agency and that any cuts will have to reduce actual services (policing, teaching, etc) that residents care most about. A bit of "backroom coercion," that generally keeps the cutters at bay.

Post a comment