View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Political Promises: No New Taxes ...

Almost all politicians make promises during campaigns that they are not able to keep. Reality - and other politicians or branches of government - often get in the way. It doesn't necessarily make them liars; they may really believe they can do what's never been done before - give us more, for less.

It's more a commentary of the credulity of the voters.

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised, "you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime."

Well ... lots of big budget programs, potential health care reform, rising unemployment, a recession with dropping revenues - they all add up.

So on the Sunday talk shows, some hints that tax increases might be on the table.

National Economic Council Director Larry Summers when asked about tax increases tried to dodge the question.

"There is a lot that can happen over time," Summers said, adding that the administration believes "it is never a good idea to absolutely rule things out, no matter what."


Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, "If we want an economy that's going to grow in the future, people have to understand we have to bring those deficits down. And it's going to be difficult, hard for us to do. And the path to that is through health care reform. We're not at the point yet where we're going to make a judgment about what it's going to take."

What it's going to take is more taxes - or some miraculous source of revenue.

Hey, Nicholas Cage, know anything about a "national treasure"?

Of course, if Obama does raise taxes, his numbers will take a dive unless he can really sell the idea or unless the people like what they get in return.

Look what happened to Bush I in 92 after he had to break his tax promise.

Of course, maybe they were just floating the idea to get a reaction and see how people feel. If the reaction is strong enough against them, tax increases might go by the wayside.

Personally, I am not opposed to paying more in taxes - gasp - if the money genuinely helps people. If I have to pay more to make sure that someone gets adequate health care, for example, so be it.

My fear, though is that the money will go to things I oppose, or will be wasted. So far, I haven't seen enough from the Obama administration to assure me that things will be different this time around.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Todd said...

I think the president made it clear during the campaign that the Bush tax cuts would likely be repealed for people making over a quarter mil.

The GOP (and some Democrats) of course don't mind that citizens bypass the middleman and funnel our money directly to their sponsors.

Like you, I don't have a problem with paying higher taxes for something worthwhile. But its clear that the borrow-and-spend orgy of the Bush administration simply must come to an end. We cannot afford to have oil companies on the federal payroll: this much is clear.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

But now Todd the suggestion is that the taxes may go below the levels he said would not be touched.

As for sending money to sponsors - the Democrats are also guilty. Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups benefit, among others.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

"But now Todd the suggestion is that the taxes may go below the levels he said would not be touched."

If they get to you and me, I suspect the economy is a lot worse off than what they're saying. I'm not surprised that borrow-and-spend has spent itself.

But I didn't vote for him because of taxes. If he can't get insurance reform to work and if there's any more dawdling in the Middle East, I may well return to voting third party, maybe as soon as 2010.

It will be interesting to see how vigorous the GOP response to this might be.

11:29 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Counterstrike - I view your comment as a threat. Send me something like that again, and I will report you to the police.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Lilly Meadows said...

Lee -

Don't waste your time on Operation Counterstrike. Other aliases he has is 'SoMG', 'DoctorDefense', 'Dr. Death' and I think 'Singing Zombie' is one too. He terrorizes religious pro-life blogs all the time. If he is threatening you consider yourself in good company - he threatens Fr. Pavone all the time.

I even read on one blog that the FBI is already investigating him for his terrorist-like threats.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Thank you Lilly Meadows. I've actually seen one of his other aliases, so now it makes more sense.

He/she indeed just may be a misguided soul who needs our prayers and is not a real "threat."

12:32 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"But I didn't vote for him because of taxes."

Ah, Todd, I suspected you had voted for him.

Back in 1992, I was duped by a young Presidential candidate promising a new way of dong things. It's the only Presidential vote I have ever cast that I later came to regret. (Interestingly, it's also the only time in 9 tries that I voted for a candidate who actually won. Go figure.)

I hope that you too will come to regret your vote!

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

"I hope that you too will come to regret your vote!"

What an unamerican thought!

I hope he is successful as president, as I hoped the previous presidents were, whether I voted for them or not.

Like you, he is the only one of several presidential votes I cast that actually won. If I'd had a viable third-party candidate, I probably would have cast my vote in that way, as I have many times in the past.

As for regrets, I don't believe in them. I made the best decision with the information I had at hand at the time.

11:22 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

"What an unamerican thought!"

I'm a Catholic first! :-)

6:07 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

I too studied the issues and the positions of the candidates. Early on, I was willing to give Obama a serious look, but the more I learned about his record (and in some cases, lack thereof), his positions on various issues, his actions, his willingness to fudge the truth, I became alarmed. I realized in good conscience I could not vote for him.

I was not a fan of McCain (I far preferred Huckabee), but Obama was just too objectionable.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

"I was not a fan of McCain (I far preferred Huckabee), but Obama was just too objectionable."

Sounds almost like me. I'm not a fan of Barack Obama, but Senator McCain was just too objectionable. Someday I hope I'll have a tough choice on the presidential ballot.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Todd - my objections to Obama were not just political - they were on moral grounds given his positions, especially his extreme position on abortion. To be honest, I can't imagine how any Catholic or pro-lifer could vote for him.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Todd said...

"Todd - my objections to Obama were not just political - they were on moral grounds given his positions, especially his extreme position on abortion."

Actually, his position wasn't as extreme as Richard Nixon. But I wouldn't have voted for him either.

"To be honest, I can't imagine how any Catholic or pro-lifer could vote for him."

It doesn't take much imagination. In this past election cycle, the president was going to be pretty irrelevant on abortion. The other major party candidate wasn't that far off from the expedient position of hands-off. I'm pretty much convinced that abortion in the US is now a status quo, as Chief Justice Roberts has intimated. What I heard in the campaign stage was posturing for the base.

Frankly, I don't think abortions were going to move off point no matter who the president was going to be.

Of course, the GOP and their Catholic stooges on the right don't want you to believe that. They want your vote so the corporate gravy train can continue on schedule.

It might help to listen to more people who did hold their nose and vote for Obama and drink less of the GOP Kool-Aid on this one.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Todd said "In this past election cycle, the president was going to be pretty irrelevant on abortion. ... I'm pretty much convinced that abortion in the US is now a status quo, as Chief Justice Roberts has intimated. What I heard in the campaign stage was posturing for the base."

Todd, there has already been a change that would not have happened under McCain. Funds have been released for abortions and embryonic stem cell research. Yes, abortion is the status quo for now, and embryonic stem cell research was already going on, but the numbers have gone up or we are helping to pay for them.

In other words, this administration is linked to killing more than unborn children. That's pretty significant. Andf increase - or money paying for - one abortion is too much.

Obama has just appointed a Supreme Court Justice. Her position on abortion is not completely clear yet - but imagine if we had a new Justice who clearly thought Roe was bad law. The Court is so closely divided on the issue that one vote may not be enough to end Roe, but certainly might be enough to put or keep some limits in place.

Thene there is the whole depate over helath care, which could potentially lead to more government funding of abortion.

The President does play a significant role in the abortion debate throgh his bully pulpit, by changing policies, and by suggesting or pushing for legislation.

I don't drink Kool Aid, by the way. But I do drink from the chalice at Mass.

6:17 AM  

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