Sunday, April 30, 2006

The best politician that voters deserve

With my time growing more and more limited, I've been falling behind on news stories. Many I elect to pass up, but others I want to bring up, even after a few days, because of their valuable lessons. New Jersey voters are starting to regret voting former Sen. Jon Corzine into the governor's office, now that this quintessential Democrat broke a campaign promise and in fact will do a good job in the opposite direction. Corzine has broken his promise to cut property taxes by $550 million, instead cutting it down to $100 million, and he wants to raise the state sales tax. All in all, he wants nearly $2 billion in tax increases.

New Jersey's sales tax increase comes not long after New York state eliminated our state sales tax on clothes under $110. Albany finally realized that New York was losing so much business to people who'd shop in New Jersey as well as Connecticut. I don't think one percentage point by itself will make people cross the George Washington Bridge from New Jersey, but New Jerseyans who work in New York City can be expected to do more clothes shopping before returning home.

There's an old Cherokee story about a young man who was walking through the snow and encountered a half-frozen rattlesnake. The snake begged for help, but the youth refused, saying, "I know you'll bite me." The snake replied, "No, no, I promise I won't." After several pleas, the young man eventually agreed out of pity. He put the snake inside his clothes, carried him home and set him by the fire. Once the snake had warmed, he suddenly struck out and bit the boy. "Why did you do that?!" exclaimed the young man, "when you had promised me!" The snake replied, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

Well, New Jersey voters got what they deserve, just like Vermont voters who keep electing a socialist to the House (and might to the Senate). Those who cast ballots for Corzine and feel betrayed today have a right to be angry, but nonetheless, they knew what he was when they voted for him. I'm no Republican shill, but let's be realistic here: who actually dares to trust a Democrat who's trying to sound conservative on fiscal policy? Well, enough American voters believed Bill Clinton in 1992, not just his "Big Lie" that the economy was so bad, but his promise of "a middle-class tax cut." We knew what he was when we voted for him, and our reward was a tax hike not even six months after Bubba's inauguration.

The euphemistically named "Revenue Reconciliation Act of 1993" demonstrated that, like all Democrats, Clinton wants to balance budgets not by prudent cuts in spending, but by irresponsible tax hikes (especially on the rich whose wealth creates jobs for everyone else). We can expect the same from his wife, if God forbid she ever wins the presidency. She'll insist on raising taxes, parroting her husband's ludicrous claim that "it's time for the rich to pay their fair share." But, via our friends at Three Sources, commentator Steve Moore notes that Bush's "tax cuts for the rich" have shifted more of the tax burden to the rich. And I'll add that it's win-win for everyone. The rich don't mind, having grown wealthier, and all because they have the incentive to produce and/or invest more. Everyone else shouldn't mind, because they're paying a lesser burden of total taxes, and especially because the rich have more money to spend on goods and services that lower-income people produce (meaning more jobs than any government "create work" program could ever hope for).

Corzine would have done far better to cut the wasteful (and stereotypically corrupt) state spending, instead of the knee-jerk reaction to raise taxes. He could have learned from NYC Mayor Bloomberg, who tried tax hikes to close the budget deficit after 9/11 -- they only made NYC's economy worse. However, we all knew, even those who wanted to believe he was different, that no matter what he promised during the campaign, Corzine is a Democrat's Democrat.

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