CONTRASTS IN BLACK AND RED

BY CAL THOMAS

The contrast between what Illinois Democrats did last week and what
Republicans have done in Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Virginia and New
Jersey, could not be clearer.

In Illinois, Democratic legislators and a Democratic governor pushed
through a massive 67 percent personal income tax hike (and a 46 percent
boost in corporate taxes), claiming an accompanying “cap” would mean no
new spending. Sure.

Illinois is caught in a trap of its own making, agreeing with unions
(the Democrat base) to pay exorbitant amounts of retirement and health
benefits to public employees the state cannot afford. Governors in
nearby states are inviting Illinois residents and businesses to move
from Illinois. No doubt many will accept those invitations, taking their
money and their jobs with them.

California is a failing state, having overpromising public-sector
workers at the expense of the private sector. And it’s not alone.
According to Bloomberg, “More than 80 percent of the nation’s 27 million
state and local government workers and retirees are covered by public
pensions. Yet the median state plan had enough money to pay just 76
percent of its obligations as of Aug. 20, 2010.” Data compiled by the
University of Rochester and Northwestern University found that “six
cities — Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Fla., Philadelphia
and St. Paul, Minn. — will run out of pension money by 2020.” States
that have had enough have Republican governors who are committed to
reducing spending and taxes.

In his State of the State address last week, Indiana Republican Mitch
Daniels, properly took credit for policies that have placed his state
among the financially strongest in the nation: lowest property taxes in
the country and matching spending to income by eliminating “nice to do”
programs, focusing instead on “must do” ones.

Daniels noted, “Elsewhere state government payrolls have grown, but
here, we have the nation’s fewest state employees per capita, fewer than
we did in 1978.” He said that during the current recession “at least 35
states raised taxes, but Indiana cut them. Since ’04, the other 49
states added to their debt, by 40 percent; we paid ours down by 40
percent.” Other states went into the red, he said, but in Indiana “our
savings account remains strong, and our credit AAA.”

Daniels spoke of “protecting the taxpayer” and added, “…whatever
course others may choose, here in Indiana we live within our means, we
put the private sector ahead of government, the taxpayer ahead of
everyone, and we will stay in the black, whatever it takes.”

Unless you’re a retired state employee in Illinois, you are probably on
your feet shouting, “Yes! This is what I’ve been waiting to hear!”

President Obama and too many other politicians emphasize “public
service” as if government work is superior to a vibrant private sector
that creates jobs, goods and services people want. Governor Daniels has
the right priority: people and jobs first, government second. If Daniels
hasn’t decided to run for president, he should. This is a platform that
has not only worked in Indiana but, if adopted by the federal government
(and other states), would work nationally.

Many Democrats who voted for the Illinois tax increases were lame ducks
who will pay no political price for their cowardly vote. Besides, it
wasn’t their money. That’s why it’s so easy to spend.

If politicians in other financially troubled states won’t follow
Indiana’s example, people can move to states with lower taxes. But no
one can escape the federal government.

Short of term limits or regular turnovers in Congress until they “get
it,” a more radical approach may be necessary. Suppose there was a
groundswell of taxpayers who announced they will no longer pay for
government and, in fact, will start reducing payments to government if
politicians won’t significantly cut spending? That would get their
attention.

There aren’t enough prisons to house thousands, perhaps millions, of
taxpayers who cry “enough” and demand that Washington live within its
means. It’s time to starve the beast. If Dracula doesn’t get blood, he
dies. If Washington can’t suck more money out of us and must stop
borrowing, it will be forced to cutback, like so many have done in this
recession.

Anyone ready to lead this second American Revolution?

______________________________________________________

Thanks to David down in Florida for bringing this to my attention.

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