Political Futures

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

Mary Glassman comes to some interesting conclusions:

Our town is not unique. Connecticut is more reliant on local property tax revenue to fund local education than any state in the nation. Our state contributes only 40 percent to our K-12 education, compared with other states such as Michigan, which contributes 78 percent. As a result, towns are forced to turn to the only revenue source available to them: the local property tax.

Funding education is not the only major challenge facing the state. Connecticut currently loses more young adults than any other state in the nation. That means that as our state population ages, there are fewer young people coming in to fill our jobs, buy our homes and purchase our goods and services.

Faced with these challenges, local and state elected officials must work together to create a long-term statewide plan that sets priorities, saves money and creates regional solutions.

In Connecticut and New England generally, regionalism is becoming more and more interesting, an idea that seeks to deeply link the fortunes of municipalities and states. It calls to attention, during these days where old paradigms will no longer provide answers to individuals wondering how they will fare in five years, the differences between theory and practice. Here’s what I mean by theory.

In another HC article, Jim Campbell offers advice to the GOP in how it can “come back,” providing a theoretical set of principles as a path, aiming at perceptions over realities. He writes

Second, it’s important to reassert the party’s traditional principles. Core Republican beliefs in lower taxes, fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense remain popular with most Americans, even as many have lost confidence in the GOP’s ability to govern. With Democrats back in power, they are already committed to an agenda that includes raising taxes on some and dramatically increasing spending. At the same time, it is hard to imagine that defense spending will rank as the new administration’s top priority.

In present contexts, none of the above hold contextual logic and amount to theoretical political science, as they always have. Lower taxes has never worked in practical terms, as Glassman shows above, and strong national defense must always come with qualifiers. What does “dramatically increasing” spending mean? Last week the auto industry travelled to Washington asking for bailout money. And why should national defense be a the “top priority” when the bricks are cracking at the local school?

Over the next few years we will be hearing a lot about “the parties” and why one is better than the other. Practical solutions will be on people minds. Not the great Platonic bridge. “I believe in lower taxes” in political framing is not quite a logical tautology but it’s pretty close.


3 responses to “Political Futures”

  1. Josh says:

    “Lower taxes has never worked in practical terms…”

    Wow, Steve.

    Definitely a big problem the last eight years was the massive increase in the national debt, which is attributed to the White House signing into law far too many financially-bloated programs. Proof right there that the government hardly knows how to spend money better than average U.S. taxpayer. (BTW: You think Obama is gonna reduce that with his intended spending regimen?)

    BUT Bush’s two income tax reductions resulted in halting a bad inherited economy, kept the economy stable following 9/11 (that feat cannot be overstated), and grew the GDP by almost 3% annually throughout his first term.

    For both terms–even during this “economic crisis” the country was (and is) still buying and selling $6 million dollar apartments, still spending millions in sports event tickets, still donating campaign funds to one Barack Obama to a tune of $600+ million etc. etc.

    (I admit it would be entertaining to hear how Reaganomics didn’t work some day… I won’t even debate you on it–just have at it :-) )

    I think where we have a fundamental issue with each other’s ideology is that you believe in throwing more tax money at problems (at the expense of national security no less–I mean who needs a robust military to protect our kids from the bad guys anyway?), while I believe that at some point the people spending the money have to be held accountable for their poor fiscal choices.

    Want to fix education, Steve? School choice tax credits. Brew competition between public and private school institutions.

    P.S. I cannot take seriously ANY person who would use Michigan as an example of good fiscal stewardship. Led by its leftwing governor, Michigan has been in a deep recession since 2001! That state is a mess (thanks largely to the vastly over-regulated domestic auto-industry).

  2. Steve says:

    Good to see you back, Josh, and still kicking.

    Just a few quick questions: do you mean that the supply side system is unassailable? Or are you playing Loki’s wager? Throw money at problems? We could always toss words at the fridge and see where they scatter. What’s the straw man argument you’re trying to make?

    “while I believe that at some point the people spending the money have to be held accountable for their poor fiscal choices.”

    I thought I’d never hear you agree with Barney Frank. Cool.

  3. Josh says:

    “Throw money at problems? … What’s the straw man argument you’re trying to make?”

    Let’s start with every single one of these bailouts, No Child Left Behind, and nationalised health care.

    The argument: Every time the government gets involved as the actual solution, problems get worse…and for a prolonged time (as opposed to being really bad for a short time e.g. let the banks and auto-makers go Chapter 11).

    “I thought I’d never hear you agree with Barney Frank. Cool.”

    So he agrees with me that the Dem leadership and moderate Republicans in Congress, Governor Schwarzenegger, Governor Granholm and Mayor Bloomberg need to be fired asap? Cool indeed.