You know I hate to be political in a blog…
That’s a joke. What are blogs for if not to take a stand on something? Now I know there are blogs for people who love calico or hollandaise sauce or reserve-tank levers on ’60 Volkswagens—and I respect all those bloggers, really. But with the gubernatorial election looming here in Connecticut, I was just kinda wondering: who’s voting for Tom Foley?
The reason I ask is that he’s talking austerity and uttering the magic words—tax cuts. But what does that mean? Does it mean that the average person will pay less? Maybe, but only on the state income tax. Maybe. Foley has no control over the IRS, and reduced state income means the cities will have to fend for themselves and increase taxes on—let’s see now, oh yeah, YOU. Well, on me too, but I’m not voting for the guy, so I’ll have an excuse. Theoretically he could cut the sales tax, even some other taxes, but in the end you’ll pay the same. Meanwhile reduced state taxes mean reduced services.
We’ve already seen how this works on the national stage with Governor Rick Perry’s Texas. Now you can blame the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas for botching the Ebola case, but the truth is that on the federal level and the state level, the conservative mania for cutting taxes is responsible for this near-disaster. The CDC’s emergency preparedness program, which provides funding and staff all over the United State has seen the loss of more than 45,000 jobs in state and local health departments because of federal funding cuts. In Texas alone a state-federal cooperative administered by the Department of Health and Human Services has been slashed by over $250 million in the past decade.
Let me put this simply: The average Joe wants tax cuts; but the wealthy adore them!
Let’s say that someone like Tom Foley cuts taxes.
Then someone like Tom Foley with school-age children becomes dissatisfied with public education. It doesn’t matter—he can afford private education.
Then someone like Tom Foley gets sick and doesn’t like his current health care but it doesn’t matter—he can afford whatever doctor in whatever hospital on whatever planet he chooses.
Then someone like Tom Foley loses power during a storm but it doesn’t matter. He can call a private contractor and pay whatever is needed to clear the trees off the wires and save wear and tear on his generator.
Meanwhile the rest of us who voted for austerity have to live with it. The tax cuts that we fetishized in November suddenly seem cold and empty when our roads aren’t repaired, and our schools aren’t funded, and the homeless have no shelters, and programs that promote literacy and sobriety and spousal respect go wanting.
You want tax cuts? Fine. Just understand that you’re going to pay for them every day.
I look at the polls and note that Foley and Malloy are running neck and neck; then I look at the population of Connecticut and see a state where the extremely wealthy constitute a huge minority. The rest of us are either hanging on to what’s left of the vanishing middle class or struggling to make ends meet. And yet half of us are planning to vote against our own best interests? Seriously?
Tom Foley isn’t going to bring jobs back to Connecticut—they’ve been leaving for thirty years driven out by greedy owners seeking cheap labor. That’s on them. Let them flounder in North Carolina or Mississippi or wherever they can avoid paying a living wage to their workers while they themselves take home millions. But before you vote on November 4, try to imagine the next Ebola outbreak—or something like it—and how much you’ll want the local hospitals to be ready when your spouse or your child or your elderly parent becomes ill. And then try to imagine how the hospitals won’t be. That part’s easy—it has already happened.
Of course, you can always shuffle on down to a Mississippi hospital.