Balancing a Budget

My beloved state has decided to shut down its government for the time being.  Everything deemed non-essential has been cut, people have been laid off.  It’s fun stuff.  A blog on Forbes that I read last night highlights the reason we got to this point:

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, a Democrat, had tried to bargain his way toward an agreement by offering up massive cuts in state services. In return, he asked the Republicans to agree to a tax increase for the wealthier citizens of the state to make up the remainder of the funding required to close most of the gap in the budget.

But the Republicans held firm on taxes – even when Dayton made his final offer that would have placed an additional 3% tax on only those Minnesotans earning over $1 million a year, a burden that would have been placed on just .03% of all Minnesotans.

It’s not so much that the state’s GOP leaders had a violent, allergic reaction to those earning seven figures a year having to pay a few percentage points more in taxes. What appears to have ended negotiations were the Republican demands that Governor Dayton agree to their social agenda issues, including Voter ID legislation and abortion restrictions, as the price for the Republicans allowing the very wealthy to pay a little more.

Then this morning I ran into a strikingly appropriate political comic from way back in February:

Copyright Matt Bors

I often hear people say “Well, my family has to follow a strict budget, the government should be expected to as well.”  The Hippy tells me I’m not allowed to give people the satisfaction of my next argument, he says the reply is “But governments have the ability to tax people.”  This is all fine and dandy, but the English major in me wants an analogy.

Mary Hunt of Debt-Proof Living (with whom I occasionally disagree, but that’s not the case in this instance) says that if you’re in debt, you need to do whatever humanly possible to get out.  She often talks about finding another job or selling your belongings as an additional source of income in addition to setting a budget.  You cannot cut everything out, you need to also find a way to get more money.  And governments do that with taxes.  Otherwise they’re probably going to start selling shit to the corporations out there that are so unwilling to give any money (“for nothing”) to the country that gives them the ability to have said corporation.  We would no longer have Yellowstone National Park, it would be Wal-Mart Park.  It could happen.  And frankly, I don’t want to see it happen.  I make jack shit, and I am perfectly willing to pay taxes for the things our country/states/cities need.  The richest 1% should buck up as well, and the GOP needs to put on their big boy and big girl panties and realize this world needs to move forward.


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