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October 12, 2007 05:52 PM UTC

COLUMN: Confronting Colorado's Anti-Tax Hollow Men

  • by: davidsirota

“Not with a bang, but with a whimper” – that’s how revolutions end, and that goes for the Republicans’ 30-year anti-tax revolution. As my new nationally syndicated column today in the Denver Post shows, the public is finally turning away from the me-first economic darwinism of the anti-tax movement, and Democrats in Colorado are getting out in front of the fight to change the tax debate for the better.

Now, as I mentioned yesterday, I realize I wrote this column in a week that saw Washington Democrats hoist the white flag of surrender on the issue of making billionaire hedge fund managers pay the same tax rates as the people who shine their expensive shoes. I also realize that the example I cite in the piece – the war tax proposal by Rep. David Obey (D-WI) – has been predictably attacked by all sides in Washington.

But I wrote this column in spite of all this for a reason: To remind everyone of the conflict brewing on all of these issues of economic power and inequality – the conflict between the Money Party and the People Party that I write a lot about, whether on trade, taxes, health care or anything else. This column is designed to remind everyone that, in fact, this is not a one-sided fight, that We The People have real allies in municipal governments, state legislatures and yes, even in the federal government – people like John Hickenlooper and Bill Ritter and others.

Make no mistake about it: These allies are not changing the tax debate by themselves. The media likes to portray politics as a top-down sport, where the Grand Titans of Government hand down edicts that Change the Country. But anyone who has actually worked a day on a political campaign or in a legislative body understands that the acts of politicians are for the most part reflections of effective pressure. Usually that pressure is best honed by Big Money and corporate lobbyists, but every now and again – like in this new tax battle – it is administered by the public at large.

These allies are all courageous, but they are all smart politicians, too. They see both the public and personal benefits of having this fight. They see that good public policy makes good politics for them personally, and that they will ultimately benefit by spending political capital to reframe the tax debate on grounds that the broad public understands is moral.

I have no problem with politicians seeing personal opportunity in doing the right thing. In fact, the progressive movement should strive for this kind of dynamic on every issue. We saw it with Ned Lamont showing the Democratic Party that there were political benefits to taking a stand against the war. Now we’re seeing it on the tax issue in a ground-up movement starting in places like Coloradl. And so even as some Democrats keep pushing a new NAFTA expansion, even as other Democrats shy away from a tax fight and/or refuse to end the Iraq War – even, in short, as the Money Party does its best to crush the People Party – the People Party is making progress.

Go read the whole column here and let me know what you think. My column runs every Friday in the Denver Post, and if you’d like to see it regularly in papers throughout Colorado, use this directory to find the contact info for your local editorial page editors. Get get in touch with them and point them to my Creators Syndicate site.


17 thoughts on “COLUMN: Confronting Colorado’s Anti-Tax Hollow Men

    1. Tell us what the cap is?  100%?  Or more than that if they deem you “too rich?”

      Governments are instituted among men to protect their life, liberty, and property, not to arbitrarily take as much property and liberty as they can.  Philosophically speaking, taxation ought to be on tenuous ground to begin with, as it’s there to serve us, not the other way around.

        1. And any of the Enlightenment philosophy that invented true liberalism, you’d understand that “my paycheck” is what government’s job is – not making sure “poor people” can afford to fill a 3-car garage and have cell phones and color TVs and high speed internet.

          1. And also to “Promote the general welfare.”

            Taxes are legit and necessary, whether to pay for soldiers or anything else that elected representatives decide to spend money on. 

            BTW, haven’t ever run across po’ folk with 3 car garages and high speed internet.  Ever.  Might be someone out there, but having concurrently lived “in the hood” and run a computer lab at a center, I know that wasn’t the case six years ago.

            1. Don’t poke any holes in that old “welfare queen” myth that Yokel and others apparently still believe to be true. Empirical evidence is anathema to them, ya know…

            2. was meant by the founding fathers that the government was to pay out money to those below a certain economic standard, why did it take around 160 years to implement it?  I don’t have a problem with paying taxes, I just have a problem with some of the priorities of those who get to spend them.

              1. Because it took that long for industrial capitalism, with it’s vicious up and down cycles, to develop and create a down cycle (the Great Depression) that only government could come in and address. And lo and behold, we haven’t suffered anything as bad as that since, although the unfettered credit of the past 20 years (mortgages in the past decade especially) which is currently unraveling may bite us all pretty bad…

    2. And I never get a straight answer.  It’s always about their pain, not what society needs. 

      That’s cuz they don’t have an answer except zero, I guess. 

      The ideology is about “less”, not what is appropriate. Therefore, it is impossible to answer.

  1. you can really fuck up a good Friday after work buzz.
    What the hell is with you and your “tax” everyfuckinthingthatbreatheswalkstalkssmileswigglesfartsetcuntiltheyaredead?
    Jesus tapdancin christ. If you are such a fanatic for taxes, why don’t you and your buddies donate say……..95% of everything you make?
    Leave the rest of us alone. We already give until it bleeds. How fucking much more do you want?
    Now I’m really pissed.
    Fuck you and your Tax mentality……..

    1. we should have no taxes for police.
      we should have no taxes for fire.
      we should have no taxes for sewage treatment.
      we should have no taxes for roads and bridges.
      we should have no taxes for public health.
      we should have no taxes for food inspections.
      we should have no taxes for national defense. Oh wait, the president and congress have already defaulted on that bill.
      we should have no taxes for schools and libraries.
      we should have no taxes for research and development.

      Let us know what you don’t need, tough guy….

      1. pay immense amounts of tax on all the little items you mentioned, “tough guy”.
        But you want more too?
        Why don’t YOU pay more? Nothing is stopping you or Mr Liberal David. Hmmm?

        1. the reason I say “tough guy” is because most likely you love the war in Iraq – which Bush says needs another $200 Billion this year – but probably don’t want to pay for that now either. That’s not tough, that’s stupid.

        2. We get battleships and V-22 Ospreys, they get health coverage.

          Colorado has just about the lowest tax rates of any state outside of Mississippi.

          Be a man, buck up, pay your share. 

          BTW, David Sirota is addressing WHO is paying taxes.  But you knee jerkers see “taxes” and you see red.  You should see red, because presuming you aren’t rich, you are paying too much but the rich aren’t.  THEY got the tax breaks, remember?  Bush gave us, wow, $150 or so.  Think I’ll run right out and buy….not much.

          1. Precisely *because* of our battleships and deathtraps.  If they didn’t have Pax Americana protecting their sovereign interests, they would be about as broke as the Soviet Union got trying to take care of both defense and everything else imaginable.

            1. The term Pax Americana is used by both supporters and critics of United States foreign policy, and as such, it carries different connotations depending on the context. For example, it appears repeatedly in a September 2000 document, Rebuilding America’s Defenses, by the neoconservative think tank, Project for the New American Century, but is also used by critics to characterize American dominance and hyperpower as imperialist in function and basis.

              The neocons, of whom you are one I presume,are making the same mistake every other superpower throughout history has made….and which has led to their downfall. You fall into the category of “ignorance of history leads to the repeating of it”. You have nothing new. Nothing creative has ever entered your head.

              If PAX means peace (which it does), then why hasn’t Pax Americana led to peace? Can we really justify the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex having almost 1000 bases in over 150 countries? That exorbitantly expensive strategy is certifiably crazy….but profitable….but not for the soldiers who man those bases, or the taxpayers who pay for it.

              Your hyperbole is dangerously ignorant. There are some who will continue to challenge this dangerous inorance, and there are some who will continue to support it. You fall into the latter category, and will eventually pay the price. If your philosophy succeeds, then we all pay the price. Thanks and fuck you.

              1. how LITTLE should we spend on defense?  Which weapon systems will we retain and which will we throw away?  What should our global defense strategy be?  Should we rely on the good will of other powers in the world while we withdraw our troops from NATO, ANZUS and other treaty organizations?  What is the United States place in the world in your idealized future.  Does it even have one?

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