If the Political Parties were competing Soda Products, the Republican's jingle that they would be universally known by would be:
"No New Taxes."
And the Democratic Party's cola slogan would perhaps be:
"Making Government work for everyone."
So what ultimately happens when first campaign gets the better of the second?
Well, you get inconceivable story-lines like this next one. Sorry Government Employees, you lose.
by Michael Cooper and Mary Williams Walsh, NYTimes.com -- July 10, 2012
When the city of Scranton, Pa., found itself down to its last $5,000 in the bank last week, its Democratic mayor took a highly unusual step: he unilaterally cut the pay of city workers -- including police officers, firefighters and even himself -- to the minimum wage, just $7.25 an hour. Now the city’s unions are fighting for their promised pay in court.
But Scranton finds itself in a position that is unusual even in this era of widespread budget pain: it has nearly run out of cash and, so far, no one is willing to lend it more.
The troubles of Scranton, a city of 76,000, are a combination of long-term structural decline, a mayor and City Council at loggerheads and, since June, an inability to borrow. A majority on the Council turned Scranton into a financial pariah this spring by refusing to honor a guarantee that the city had placed on the revenue bonds issued by its parking authority. The municipal bond market took its refusal as a sign that the city might also default on its own bonds, and cut off credit.
When the 'No New Taxes' pledge takes hold in the public's collective mind, as a viable solution -- will that 'race to the bottom' be very far behind?
Services? Who need public services anyways? Certainly not the public in PA ...
How does a local government get itself into such dire straits, anyways?
Well that answer seems to be one part sleight of hand, one part voter apathy:
by Mary Williams Walsh, NYTimes.com -- June 25, 2012
Surprised local taxpayers from Stockton, Calif., to Scranton, Pa., are finding themselves obligated for parking garages, hockey arenas and other enterprises that can no longer pay their debts.
Officials have signed them up unknowingly to backstop the bonds of independent authorities, the special bodies of government that run projects like toll roads and power plants.
The practice, meant to save governments money, has been gaining popularity without attracting much notice, and is creating problems for a small but growing number of cities.
With many cities now preoccupied with other crushing costs -- pension obligations, retiree health care, accumulated unpaid bills -- a sudden call to honor a long-forgotten bond guarantee can be a bolt from the blue, precipitating a crisis. The obligations mostly lurk in the dark. State laws requiring voter pre-approval of bonds don’t generally apply to guarantees. Local governments typically don’t include them in their own financial statements or set aside reserves to honor them.
That's what you call creative kicking-the-can governing ... Can't pay your bills? -- just take it out on your most dedicated employees' pay. And radically so. Binding employment agreements be damned.
If Dems cannot reverse this Tax Phobia downward spiral, will any of us be immune from this shift-the-blame, economic 'race to the bottom' in the long run?
Republicans will argue, "Well it's whatever the market will bear. If someone is willing to do those jobs for 'minimum wage' -- WHY shouldn't we let them?"
And the Democratic counter-argument to this "let the markets decide" ruse?
A strong defense for paying a Living Wage?
A passionate argument for the importance of Economic Patriotism?
A constitutional explanation of our taxing authority to provide for the General Welfare?
Well hardly. Those arguments are hardly jingle-ready, now are they?
Job, Jobs, Jobs! -- Now THAT's a slogan!
Exactly HOW are we going to get the seed money for those Jobs? Well, the people don't want those messy details!
They just want Jobs. Unemployed workers don't care about their Wage level or the Benefit package -- as the public workers in Scranton ... are about to abruptly find out.
We might be very surprised by what 'that market' will ultimately 'bear' -- especially when hunger and thirst become the all-too-common motivators. Party Slogans will ring hollow in that era, when Stockton and Scranton are accepted with a shrug -- as part of the "New Normal' ...
Sadly, that bottom-seeking economic era may have already arrived. The No New Taxers have seemingly won the rhetorical day already -- where "Taxes" are so cavalierly painted as 'the source of all evil' ... and each Tax equally so.