I've posted to my Facebook several times this past week, asking people in California to please vote yes on Proposition 30. This initiative statute bypasses our gridlocked state government and raises taxes on the rich, with the funds so raised earmarked for lower and higher education in California. It's the initiative statute that will hopefully save the CSU and the UC for the next fiscal cycle. I work for both a CSU school and a UC school this term, and I'm already scheduled to work for a CSU school in the spring, so I really need Prop 30 to pass.
My uncle, sadly, does not feel it's a good law. He objects. He doesn't like Governor Brown and he doesn't like our state legislature. And he really doesn't like taxes. A copy of our Facebook conversation (so far) is below the fleur-de-Kos. Pointers would be helpful, although I think I've made a good start.
The conversation started when I linked to this Rec-Listed Diary, prosaically called Proposition 30, and asked him to read it.
KoSC's Uncle: I read it KoSC* and it does not change my mind. Sorry. All I can say is I do not trust the state government to do anything but raise taxes without ever auditing what they spend on. I already pay the the highest state income tax (yes me personally and do not qualify for any credit) in the nation and near the top of the highest sales tax in the nation with over 55% of the budget devoted to education and yet we somehow don't spend enough on it. Do you see anything wrong with this? What needs to happen is complete shakedown at the administration level and noncompetitive bidding purchasing of the education system after that then we need the auditing of the state pension plan. When these things have had real change then we can talk about new taxes. In the end this state is losing private sector jobs which support the state jobs by droves. I find this particular administration and state congress to be as worthless as any I have ever seen in my 56 years in the state. I would not hand Jerry Brown or the state legislators a penny more until they prove they can do more than just throw money at a problem. KoSC, i hear many people railing against the control by corporations and rightfully so, I also believe we should be railing at institution of government that continually justify their existence with misdirection and deceit. I want someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and change things even if they are not popular. I have lived under Mr Brown's previous administration actually voted for him once. He fought the lowering of property taxes and lost. Without that lowering of property taxes very few people in this state would be able to own homes. I am sorry for what this might cause you personally in the education system please believe me it has already been felt in the private sector. I work 50-60 hours a week two weekends a month and have my department cut from 18 people to 6 with no reduction in work. I am considered lucky because I have a job . Yet I bet 1 out of ten people take the drugs my company makes. Think about that. So don't think I take what I say lightly. I believe this state has been ripped off for years by crappy people at its highest levels. This is why I will not vote for any tax increase. Status Quo is longer acceptable.(The reduction of property taxes he's talking about was Proposition 13 in 1978, led by the Howard Jarvis anti-tax group, which not only lowered it on little old retired ladies (the focus of the ads, back then) but also commercial properties.)
KoSC: Uncle John*, I'm sorry you feel that way. But given a choice between a country run by corporations and a country run by government, I'll take government any day of the week and twice on Tuesday. I'm also a government employee. I admit I have a vested interest in this.His response was short and to the point:
I don't have a problem with the lowering of property taxes on homes. That was good and right and proper. What I have a problem with is that the corporations managed to slip a rider in there to make sure that property taxes on commercial property were also blocked/lowered. That's not cool. Corporations (and the rich) should be paying far more in taxes than they are. Our infrastructure is falling apart - our roads and bridges need work, our schools need upgrading, and what is business (and the rich) doing? Sitting on money and hoarding it and not investing it in jobs. The Republican strategy of lowering taxes on the rich so that they'll invest has not worked. It has failed. It has failed repeatedly. And voting no on 30 supports them and their failed policies.
You say that we should be railing at institutions of government "that continually justify their existence with misdirection and deceit," and that you want someone who's willing to make changes even if the change isn't popular. Well, the institutions of government are being hamstrung, so they can't do their job, popular or not. You see, despite the fact that they have demonstrated that they know NOTHING about how to make a government or an economy work, the Republicans in the state legislature managed to pass a 2/3 rule that keeps our state legislature hamstrung when it comes to addressing these very real issues with realistic taxes that will help solve them. You want to call this legislature worthless, I'm with you on that - to a point. The worthless members are the Tea Party and GOP jackasses who have our process in a stranglehold. So it's time to kick them out.
Your complaints about Governor Brown sound like the people who say President Obama did nothing during his time in office. Well, it's been a little difficult with a House that has blocked literally every effort he's made towards helping regular middle- and working-class people like you and me. I say, blame the people who are blocking the initiatives, not the person who is fighting with them to get the initiatives passed. Governor Brown is facing a similar problem with our state legislature. He's not the problem - the Republicans in our state legislature are the problem, with their completely bogus and stupid pledge to never, ever raise taxes for any reason. That's not realistic. That's not reality.
Everyone should pay taxes. Those who make more money should pay more taxes - far more. Frankly, anyone who "needs" more than a million dollars a year should be diagnosed with a mental disease. When people hoard food or old junk, we intervene. Why don't we intervene with those who hoard money? Because we've somehow made it not a mental disease - we've somehow decided it's admirable to hoard money.
I'll vote on anything that takes more money away from the rich and greedy and gives it back to the people who can't get it any other way. Let's be clear, here. The rich are not going to invest in America unless forced to. I say force 'em. Prop 30 will help do that.
KoSC's Uncle: We disagree E ventually you raise taxes to the poinjt everyone will leave. Then what do you have
Leave for where? Those no-tax, civil-rights filled oases in the Middle East? Face it, there is no place they can leave to. Anywhere with the standard of living they enjoy here has higher tax rates. Anywhere with lower tax rates won't give them the standard of living they enjoy. They have nowhere to run away to, as much as they might want to or threaten to. When push comes to shove, they will whine, but they won't leave.His response, which I'm still trying to think of answers for:
BTW don't believe in Republicans or Democrats same birds in different feathers. Leave for other states other countries are you not already seeing it? My company already has divested half its jobs to India and New Jersey. These are professional jobs. The workers jobs are next. That is 1500 jobs in 6 years. How are you going to make up that tax money?Edit: He sent an additional message, so now my goal is to convince those reading along, since his mind is apparently closed tight:
All that's left behind is more people dependent on government service already depleted. People I i know that have advanced degrees have not found jobs in years of searching what is going to happen when the regular people are cut? . Sorry KoSC I will disagree I have nothing more to say.So, my intrepid readers: Anyone have suggestions for responses to this? I'd like to convince him (although he may not realize he's spouting GOP/Tea talking points left and right), or at least some of the people reading along.
Edit2: I did take this stab at it, based on Dave in Northridge's suggestion.
We can either pay now, by investing in our state's future, or pay later, when we have to pay for yet more prisons for all those kids who had no opportunities since we gutted the education system in this state. (And New Jersey can't offer the standard of living that Californians have. I've seen their excuses for beaches. India definitely can't offer the standard of living that Californians have.)*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
What we need to do is structure taxes so that it is more appealing to pay them than to outsource jobs to other areas. And we used to do that. But lately, taxes reward outsourcing. That's ass-backwards. What we should do is penalize outsourcing and reward investment in the local area. We don't do that. We should also tax companies more if they don't invest here; if they do invest, we should tax them less. That way, everyone wins. Companies get revenue, people get jobs, and the government gets enough funds that it can address our infrastructure problems and subsidize public needs and goods like social support and education. If companies want to outsource, that's fine; but we need to penalize them and heavily for doing it.
The other thing that needs to be stopped is these excessive payments to CEOs. We need to set laws saying that no CEO can make more than 20 to 30 times his lowest-paid worker. We need to return higher education to what it was when my father graduated in 1973: a state-subsidized, low-tuition institution that allows us to produce the most important resource we need in today's global society: educated workers.
No country, and no state, ever made any headway in the global society we live in today by gutting public and higher education. We can either invest in the future, or we can let the state die. Either way, we will pay for it. I'd rather the money went to education than to incarceration.