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Some thoughts about our poor government
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

President Obama is putting a target on families making over $250,000 a year. He especially likes to scapegoat the “millionaires and billionaires” who are paying only 18% on their income. He believes it should be 30%. There are petitioners in front of Target and Safeway asking us to sign an amendment for an additional tax on California’s high earners to help our schools. Politicians are inundating us with the highly emotional issues of schools, veterans’ benefits, defense, immigration, the American Way and worst of all “fairness”. I think there are some problems with this thought process.

Instead of justifying why the government needs more money, shouldn’t we be asking why it spends so much? Shouldn’t we look at the efficiency of government programs and hold those in charge accountable? When we pay into Social Security shouldn’t we get more than an IOU from our children? Why should congress have benefits that are so much better than the rest of us? Are they truly that special? Where is the outrage on the congressional floor about that?

Politicians obscure the real problems by making emotional speeches about our kids’ education and the veterans (who deserve our admiration and the benefits they have earned) and the million dollar earners (who can’t make a dent in the budget deficit if they pay 30% instead of 18% because there are so few of them and the deficit is so incredibly large). They will say anything to obscure the issues but they won’t make the hard choices and fix the problems. The politicians won’t even change directions.

Here are some radical ideas that I hope you will consider when you are voting.

• Expand the tax base because everybody that wants benefits should be willing to pay for them.

• Cut benefits for our lawmakers because it would help cut spending instead of raising taxes.

• Give our veterans their benefits but be much, much more careful about sending our young men and women into harm’s way.

• Simplify the tax code. If you truly want fairness this is a good place to start.

• Stop scapegoating. Millionaires aren’t the problem, government spending is the problem. It is time to attack the problem not the people. Scapegoating always has bad results.

I’m always amazed that so many citizens think about “the government” as something we work for. Almost no one calls it “our government”. Our government is supposed to work for us. It is now so big and unwieldy that is has taken on a life of its own.  It will continue to grow and justify itself as long as we let it. Our government feels no pressure to be efficient because it can always tax more. Why would your child stop running up their credit card bills if they know you will pay them? Who will your government raise taxes on when they run out of “millionaires and billionaires”? I have a guess…

Mark Laurora
May 9, 2012