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In Maryland (and in many other states) we received a significant amount of snow today.  The snow is so deep that there is no way that you could drive on the roads unless they are plowed.

Fortunately, the government is plowing the roads.

When the Tea Party & the Republicans say that they don't like government, I guess that they don't like the government plowing the roads.  Maybe they would like to sit in their houses and wait days for the snow to melt.   And maybe they would like  local businesses to suffer a loss of income because none of the employees could get to work to keep the businesses open.

It is the role of government to act for the common good.  And government provides us with essential services that improve the lives of every citizen.

So the next time you are at the water cooler talking to your coworkers about the snow, please make sure that you gently remind them that the snow plows that allowed them to get to work were paid for by their tax dollars, and that the cost of snow removal is not an insignificant amount.  According to David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, Maryland has already spent $80,000,000 on snow removal as of last weekend--before the monster storm that we got today.  Given that the population of Maryland is a little less than 6,000,000, this means that the government has already spent more than $13 per person on snow removal in Maryland as of last weekend.

And the next time that they talk about the need to cut government, please ask them if they really would have liked to have been stuck in their house longer because the government had to cut back the amount of money it was spending on snow removal.

We need to frame the debate about the role of government.  Government does a lot of good, and we need to make sure that people realize it.  

Originally posted to night cat on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:04 PM PST.

Also republished by Maryland Kos and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  night cat - the GOP and even the Tea Party (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, hmi, slothlax, FG

    is OK with local government plowing the roads when it snows. I believe that in cities and states run by the GOP they do plow the roads. The Tea Party's beef is with the federal government and the expansion of federal government taxes and services. Even libertarians actually like some city government services, like snow plowing public streets.

    It's fun to bash the GOP and Tea Party but you should pick government services they are on record as opposing. It's a long list, so it shouldn't be difficult.  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:15:13 PM PST

    •  They are opposed to plowing the roads. (26+ / 0-)

      They (many elected republicans and tea partiers) are opposed to fair pay for the people plowing the roads.

      They're opposed to allowing the people who plow the roads to bargain collectively and have medical care and a pension.

      They're opposed to paying taxes for paying for plowing the roads.

      So maybe they haven't explicitly come out and opposed plowing the roads... but look at what they do, not what they say.

    •  Philosophically, no, Libertarians do not support (11+ / 0-)

      government snow plows. They have no argument with folks figuring out other ways to get their own neighborhood plowed. And they have absolutely no idea for getting a whole city plowed. But, government, no!

      There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

      by oldpotsmuggler on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:31:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know anymore: (11+ / 0-)
      It's fun to bash the GOP and Tea Party but you should pick government services they are on record as opposing. It's a long list, so it shouldn't be difficult.

      Changes quite often it seems to me.  I just know that the Governor & his predecessor of the state I live in appear to be quite the crafty fox.  Refusing Medicaid expansion, decrying our current federal administration, teacher pay etc etc etc.

      Had zero problem taking federal education stimulus, infrastructure (roads) stimulus & recently declaring a state of emergency (for funds) & generators & whatever else could be had.  Before the first snowflake fell from the sky.

      Countless beings, no doubt, even knew that the shiny new computers or assistive technology suddenly appearing in schools came from a federal stimulus. Nor will they connect the federal dots with regards the generators or manpower or dollars with regards our recent snow-ice apocalypse.

      Nor will they grok or perhaps even know that our President promptly declared a state of emergency for our state within hours of the governor's.....

      And once the snow & ice melts, it will be back to teahadist talking & trashing & campaigning against the very things that governator's outstretched hand obtained (snatched up)

      The asshole duplicity astounds & sickens.

    •  "Expansion of..gov't taxes and services"? (11+ / 0-)

      That's really rich.

      The reality, of course, is that discretionary Federal spending on everything except blowing shit up has fallen like a stone since the Reagan years. We're spending far, far less in constant dollars than we used to for roads, bridges, utilities and basic science. Which has a lot to do with why life in America has become relentlessly shabbier, meaner and poorer for everyone but the 1%. No iPhone or Internet connection can conceal the reality that our bridges and schools are crumbling.

      Part of the problem is our massive muscle-bound military, but a lot of it is the diversion of an every-increasing share of Federal funds into the pockets of private corporate grifters, where it serves no purpose beyond buying more political influence and filling Cayman Island accounts.

    •  The GOP in my part of Maryland (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      night cat, Calamity Jean

      is always balking at paying property taxes which pay for the county services --including education, trash pick up, road maintenance including plowing, police and firefighters.

      It appears to me, a public employee, that they want the services--often wanting public servants to put in even longer hours for less pay--they just don't want to pay for them.  We're supposed to provide service out of our sense of civic duty and love of the job.  So much for their sense of civic duty.

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 08:53:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heard a mayor make the connection explicit (11+ / 0-)

    I forget who and where exactly, but he basically told people complaining their streets hadn't been plowed that the city could buy more plows if they didn't mind paying more in taxes.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 04:28:37 AM PST

  •  Night cat (7+ / 0-)

    got it right. I have been to some local meeting where the tea party crowd has done nothing but complain about local taxes. The reason that both local and property taxes have gone up is the cutting of funding from both the state and Federal government as someone else point out here. Until we get the rich back to paying there fair share and ending there greed this nation will only continue it down hill slide to  a third world nation

    Dogs and Philosophers do the greatest good and get the fewest rewards (Diogenes)

    by Out There on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 05:49:31 AM PST

  •  google your city's budget situation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax

    and discover how much of their budget is tied up in pension and retiree health benefit obligations.

    Cities are increasingly unable to pay for current needs because so much of the revenue they receive from current taxpayers is earmarked for former employees.  That's not a slam against public employees...it's just the fiscal reality in so many cities throughout the country.

    Cities robbed today's Peter to pay yesterday's Paul.

    L'enfer, c'est les autres....Jean-Paul Sartre

    by Keith930 on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 06:06:41 AM PST

    •  Yes, because... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy, gffish

      Pension funding is in arrears for a couple of reasons:
      --Politicians bought labor peace with pension promises.  In some cases public worker pay was high plus work rules were ridiculous.  That was not fair to the ordinary working taxpayer.
      --Politicians failed to show backbone and fully fund the pension requirements each and every (or any) year.  It was politically easier to kick the can along to whomever got elected next time.

    •  In many places, public employees (0+ / 0-)

      have had to increase their pension contributions for this reason.  In MD, our state pension contributions increased by another 2% of salary (we pay 7% plus we pay into social security).  Meanwhile the state has decided NOT to increase their contribution.  Basically public employees are paying 2% higher in taxes as a result.  

      “It is the job of the artist to think outside the boundaries of permissible thought and dare say things that no one else will say."—Howard Zinn

      by musiclady on Fri Feb 14, 2014 at 08:57:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's largely because they bought into (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slothlax, HangsLeft, Calamity Jean

      the hype in the 90's and early 00's about how they could underfund pension obligations and rely on ever-increasingly spectacular market returns to pay pensions.

      Well, like any sane person could have predicted, that didn't exactly work out.

      •  Where were public unions in that case? (0+ / 0-)

        They just went along blithely and allowed localities and states to promise things they couldn't deliver?

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sat Feb 15, 2014 at 02:20:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Taxes and roads (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, slothlax, HangsLeft, Sparhawk

    Here in the great state of New York, our politicians on all sides take us for sheep to be fleeced. In the matter of road upkeep, we pay high fuel taxes that are supposed to go to a dedicated fund for highway infrastructure maintenance. In practice, the pols have repeatedly diverted the income into other projects and replaced that money through long term borrowing. The result is that now something like 75% of the tax now goes to paying off bonds and there is continually insufficient money for maintenance.

    So, as much as I support the conceptual argument that government and taxation is necessary to build and maintain roads, the next time they tell me they need to raise gas taxes or tolls for highway upkeep, I will politely suggest they go get f**ed. From politicians, the argument about the rich paying their fair share (which we are hearing once again here in NY) is often a rallying cry to divert our attention from how we all have already been screwed over by those raising the cry.

  •  $13 per person for snow removal for (0+ / 0-)

    an entire winter seems rather manageable.

    Unless one puts that in the perspective that w/o that expenditure, Marylanders could have enjoyed an additional 3 or 4 Big Macs or Starbucks beverages.

    But to me that is all moot, because I read on the internet that the entire state was shut down a few years ago.

    So I suspect that somebody's just making up a bunch of shit to make a political point . ..

  •  This is a good diary (3+ / 0-)

    I identify as a conservative leaning libertarian, but stuff like this is a great example of where government can do something better than the private sector...

    Even if it were possible for a private sector company to serve a neighborhood or city, the process of trying to collect payment would be a nightmare...

    A garbage company serving a city can stop picking up an individual's garbage if they don't pay their bill, but it's not like a snow plow company could not plow the portion of the city associated with someone's non-payment... Even if they didn't plow in front of that individual's house the individual would still unfairly benefit from the plowing of the rest of the city.  In this case, the collection of taxes solves the problem since everyone is essentially forced to pay which is the way it should be done since everyone receives benefit from the snow removal.

  •  We really are Taxed too much ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HangsLeft

    On a recent visit to my in-laws my father in law showed me his 1st paycheck after he came back from Korea.  It was from a union paper mill in Wisconsin.  Good job.  His total pay for 2 weeks was just over $97 and his TOTAL tax withholding for EVERYTHING was just under $4.

    So 60 some years ago a working guy with a good job could take home roughly 95% of his gross pay and have 100% of his medical insurance covered.  At that time we had a congress, executive and judicial branches, an Army, Navy, and Air Force,  and 5% of that working guys pay was enough to fund it.

    Does it seem reasonable to anyone that today our government takes something like 10 times as much from that working guys pay then borrows another 35 cents for every dollar it collects?

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