Seattle Times calls on candidates to curb debate

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.

Comments

  1. 1

    Jack spews:

    THE STATE CANNOT GO DEFICIT – IT IS THE ONLY ISSUE – NOT HOW TO SPEND – BUT – WHAT TO CUT

    ROSSI IS MAKING GREGOIRE LOOK LIKE SHE IS DENIAL

  2. 2

    demo kid spews:

    This is reflective of the poor excuse that we have for a government budgeting strategy. Governments at the state and federal level work best when they’re counter-cyclical: raising taxes and cutting services during up periods to get a surplus, while lowering taxes and increasing services during down periods to boost economic activity.

  3. 3

    spews:

    Jack @1,

    Um… they both say they plan to balance the budget without raising taxes. So how does that make Gregoire look like she’s in denial?

  4. 4

    Rujax! spews:

    It’s BUBBLE UP NOT TRICKLE DOWN you assholes…for fucking chrissakes.

    We have the MOST fucked up government revenue generating system in the ccountry…

    …ergo…

    …no jobs equals no spending which equals NO FUCKING REVENUE!!!

    Don’t you idiots get it?

  5. 5

    rhp6033 spews:

    In Friday’s debate, McCain said the most important thing was to “cut spending” – repeatedly. When pressed for details, he said he would freeze all spending except for the military and veteran’s benefits.

    Obama was right to say that what was needed was a scapel, not a hatchet.

    But the problem on the federal level is that the traditional methods of encouraging growth – jobs programs, incentive spending, etc. – may not be available much due to the huge budget deficits and exploding national debt left behind by the Bush administration. It’s one thing to start with a zero-sum situation (as Bush did, with a small budget surplus when he took office). It’s quite another thing to try to borrow money to goose the economy when you are already deep in the hole.

    That being said, I still think that now is the time to be investing in big projects in this state, rather than cutting spending. Just like investors should be buying while the economy is in a down-cycle, now is the time to take advantage of a slower economy to get some of the big projects done – the Alaska Way Viaduct and the 520 Bridge, for example. Both may be expensive projects, but they’ve got to be done eventually, and they will only be MORE expensive if we start a couple of years later.

  6. 6

    rhp6033 spews:

    Wow. Must have been a lot of volume at the end of the session in the stock market, my source keeps getting updated, even 20 minutes after closing. And it’s not getting any better.

  7. 7

    mark spews:

    NO GOLDY, Rossi said he wouldn’t raise taxes,
    Gregoire said ,”Now is not a good time to talk about raising taxes.” This means she doesn’t
    want to admit that taxes are going up but
    nobody will vote for me if I’m truthful.
    See the difference?

  8. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Rossi is promising more government (especially roads) for less money. How’s he gonna do that? Why doesn’t the Times call him on it?

  9. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @2 “Governments at the state and federal level work best when they’re counter-cyclical”

    Washington’s antiquated and patchwork tax system marches in lockstep with the economy. Relying on the sales tax makes revenues predictable and ties them to the movements of the economy. This makes it almost impossible to plan future spending.

  10. 11

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    Wake up!
    Gregoire DID NOT promise not to raise taxes…she only said now wasn’t a good time.

    All the LEFTIST PINHEADED GOVERNMENT WORKERS seem to be in panic mode since jobs MUST be cut. Gregoire added thousands of new jobs and raised salaries & benefits in the face of a recession. Gregoire increased spending almost 33%!! How many taxpayers have increased spending by 33% the past 4 years??
    ANSWER: ALMOST NONE!!

    Gregoire is so out of touch…yet she is allowed to use DECEPTIVE WORDING on her statements like tax increases & the Seattle Times let her get away with it.

    Goldy spews:
    “Because nothing boosts the local economy like slashing spending and cutting jobs!”

    Ummm, yeah when the cuts are GOVERNMENT JOBS!
    Washington State long ago crossed the line to the point citizens are working for the Government Bureaucrats….not the other way around as intended.
    We need DEEP CUTS in the number of State Employees….NOW!

    Goldy-
    You have a lot of Government Workers who post here like headless lucy et al.
    Why should they be safe when PRIVATE SECTOR unemployment is way up????
    They should be the first to go…not the last.
    Government cuts in staffing should EXCEED private industry cuts.

    Get with it!

    Time for lots of bureaucrats to try & make it in the real world like “We the Taxpayers”!!

  11. 12

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Rog–
    I’m glad the Dow is down…
    Some great buying opportunities!
    I’m looking at NOV again.
    Lots of dry powder to take advantage of the faint at heart that bail out at the mention of any bad news.

    Rog, DO NOT just sit on your holdings like you’ve been doing. This is a trader’s market. I don’t like short-term plays….but that is where the money is to be made.

    Can you imagine how UNDERFUNDED the State Retirement is after today’s debacle??
    Probably $9 BILLION underfunded by now.

    Oh, and the State and Local Municipalities have money invested in various funds too.
    These are tumultuous times.

    Cut Government Jobs NOW!!

  12. 14

    rhp6033 spews:

    Cynical @ 12 seems happiest when most Americans are doing badly. Is that the real Republican agenda? Blow up the system, and then make money off pickup up the scrap????? If so, I’ll admit that they seem to do that job reasonable well.

  13. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @12 “Cut Government Jobs NOW!!”

    I can think of 2 guys who aren’t worth their salaries that we could lay off today — Bush and Cheney.

  14. 16

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Alan Fishman was CEO of Washington Mutual for 3 weeks. He will be paid $18 million.

  15. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Position Wanted

    Rabbit w/law deg. & gov’t exp. seeks resp. leadership position in estab. lg. org. Desire competitive comp. ($1 mil./day+). Inq. to Rabbit, Greenlake Park, Seattle.

  16. 18

    Jack spews:

    Gregoire MUST present a plan quickly – or she will loose.

    There are no other issues of import, the Times is correct, except the state budget coupled with a sinking state economy. It affects EVERY household, every voter, ALL of us, directly.

    That is it, that is the ONLY issue, the best plan on the table in 48 hours wins.

    I fear for Gregoire because I have seen only feel good values ads.

    Her staff and her are in denial about the shifting sands of a campaign. The federal fiscal mess plays to Rossi because he has been the warning voice – saying all is not rosy.

    Gregoire is the bearer of lipstick, little else, right now.

    The market will dive 450 more points tomorrow, the rust to cash – a run – if you will.

    In this society the worst thing thing that can happen is to de stabilize the currency, the fiscal system. It is happening before our eyes.

    I hope Goldy has some chickens or gold coins to trade for food.

  17. 19

    Daddy Love spews:

    “Rational position” my ass.

    Everyone seem not to remember that wWashingotn State governors (and everyone else) both raise taxes and cut spending during hard times, and lower taxes and increase spending during good times. Anyone who has been paying attention during the last 50 years knows that this is just the simple fucking truth. Democrats do it. Republicans do it. Spellman did, Gardner did, Rossellini did, Lowry did, Ray did, Evans did, Locke did, and so on. Give me a break.

  18. 20

    Daddy Love spews:

    18 Jack

    Gregoire’s ahead. Wouldn’t you say that Dino Rossi must present a plan quickly, or he will lose?

    Yes, it’s spelled L-O-S-E.

  19. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    7 M

    I’d say that you mean when Dino Rossi says he’s “not running on that” when he is asked about his postion on Plan B contraception, reproductive choice, pharmacists denying contraception to customers, immigration, minimum wage, universal health care, and so on, he means that he doesn’t want to reveal his positions on these issues because nobody will vote for him if he’s truthful.

  20. 22

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    10. Roger Rabbit spews:
    The Dow closed down 777 points.

      
    I’m looking for more property to buy.
      
    Prices are low, now is the time to buy.
      
    If only the old hag in metaline falls would sell me the property next to my house up there I’d be a happy camper.

  21. 23

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    12. Mr. Cynical spews:
    Cut Government Jobs NOW!!

      
    It’s not as much the paychecks for ineffective government employees… It’s the benefits they will be enjoying for the next 20 years after they retire.