The Seattle Times wants the gubernatorial candidates to talk about budget cuts:
GOV. Christine Gregoire and Republican challenger Dino Rossi said the right things about taxes: They both pledged not to increase them to fill the state’s projected $3.2 billion budget hole.
That is the only rational position for a state that cannot abide higher taxes at a time of such economic fragility.
Because nothing boosts the local economy like slashing spending and cutting jobs.
It is not the “only rational position” and the fact that they would phrase it that way is a window into the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the Times ed board. It is a rational position—singular—but there are plenty of other rational economic positions, some even in favor of fiscal stimulus during an economic downturn. There are strong arguments to be made for avoiding tax hikes, but to dismissively imply that all those who dare to argue point are “irrational” is both childish and insulting.
Furthermore, not all taxes and tax breaks are equal, each providing different economic incentives and disincentives. For example, a gas tax holiday would only increase demand for expensive foreign oil, while eliminating jobs building and maintaining necessary transportation infrastructure. Surely, amongst the billions of dollars in new tax exemptions granted by the legislature over the past decade, there are some that are not delivering to taxpayers the promised return. Eliminating these nonperforming “tax expenditures” could contribute greatly toward balancing the next budget without any detrimental economic effect… though the knee-jerk, anti-tax Times would surely revile such a move as a tax hike.
I agree that the candidates need to start talking about what they intend to cut, but the Times’ efforts to dumb down and simplify discourse exclusively to a discussion of cuts, only serves to curb debate, not expand it, and is a disservice to their readers.