One result of the budget mess being resolved here in California was a variety of tax increases (which were mostly flat or regressive and not all that good). The spending cuts were actually larger. However, in two of the weekend editions of the Los Angeles Times, right on page A1 above the fold, there was a graphic of a "tax calculator," which projected the additional taxes an individual would pay based on certain factors like income, number of dependents and values of vehicles. They have a corresponding tax calculator on their website where users can type in the data and get the precise tax hit coming to them. The Sacramento Bee has the same thing. Talk radio was having a field day with these calculators over the past few days, getting people to call in and disclose their statistics and telling them how much money they will owe. I heard a lady making $126,000 a year ranting about an $800 tax increase, and nobody seemed to find that absurd.Why, yes. Yes, it would. And I think it would give Americans the shock of their young lives to see just how much they depend on government spending in their daily lives.
In my life, I have never seen a "spending cut calculator," where someone could plug in, say, how many school-age children they have, or how many roads they take to work, or how many police officers and firefighters serve their community, or what social services they or their families rely on, and discover how much they stand to lose in THAT equation. Tax calculators show bias toward the gated community screamers on the right who see their money being "taken away" for nothing. A spending cut calculator would actually show the impact to a much larger cross-section of society, putting far more people at risk than a below 1% hit to their bottom line.
But of course, people who are perceived to depend on state services probably don't log on to the LA Times and the Sacramento Bee websites very often to calculate their tax burden. In reality, we all depend on the state for roads and law enforcement and libraries and schools and county hospitals and on and on. And in Los Angeles County, one in five residents - almost 2.2 million people - receive some form of public aid. So wouldn't it make sense to portray the real cost of spending cuts in the same way that tax increases are portrayed?
I don't make jack diddly shit, but you know what? I'd accept a tax increase to improve my community and my country. Those services are a damned good bargain. So why the fuck can't people who earn - lessee - 4.34 times what I make quit their bitching and accept a measly $800 increase?
When did this country become so damned allergic for paying for what they use?
Oh. Right. When the Cons got stuck in the tax cut rut...