Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Unbalanced Budgets

I’m with Rich Miller on this one:

Still, it does sometimes feel like we live in an alternate universe here in Illinois. For instance, I chuckle every time I read a comment from an obviously partisan Republican blasting Gov. Blagojevich for allowing the budget situation to get out of hand. Not a word has been uttered by those same people about the national budget situation. And, by the way, I have yet to see any Republican plan here in Illinois…to either replace the lost tax revenue from a reduction in the sales tax on gasoline or provide for budget cuts to offset the impact.
But, but, but, all we have to do is cut “waste”! OK, thanks for the plan.

Putting simplistic rhetoric aside, the Republican-controlled Federal government is demonstrating the problem of trying to have your finances both ways. You can’t be forever cutting taxes while never curbing spending. Here in Illinois we have a similar problem where the Democratically-controlled government is not willing to increase taxes while continuing to expand services. But cutting taxes (or at least not raising them) is generally popular with constituents while cutting services is not, so politicians, being politicians, are allegedly just giving us what we want.

Except, I don’t think most Americans really think this way. Yes, we would like not to have to pay any taxes and, yes, we would like a zillion government services. But we also understand you can’t do both at the same time. We’re not that stupid. Well, most of us aren’t anyway. I know there is plenty of room to argue about the particulars but can’t we all agree that we need to pay for what we’re buying?

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