THE DAY AFTER IN OREGON
February 2, 2003
The people with vested interests wanting to see the band aid, temporary three-year tax measure pass on January 28, 2003 in Oregon got a very big disappointment and they are crying the blues. They wanted Oregonians to vote yes to this measure to avoid another $313 million in cuts.
The unions got their volunteers working the telephone banks and handing out literature. The unconstitutional Department of Human Resources, created in 1973 by the Oregon legislature and one of the agencies that eats up a huge percentage of the budget, sent 63,000 notices to care providers and social-service recipients warning of possible cutbacks and reductions. Again, we see the "fear factor" imposed to get out the vote.
When the dust finally settled with a 55% to 45% defeat, the 45% number was a pretty clear indication of how many people are either working for the government or receiving some type of government assistance. The special election exceeded a 60% turnout. In all honesty, with our Vote-By-Mail (the first in the U.S.) and easily rigged computers and foxes in charge of the chicken house, I figured we'd lose. My faith in these government employees has been restored.
Last September, after a number of special sessions, the Legislature referred the proposed three-year tax increase to voters after the recession caused a $2 billion dive in expected revenues for the state's 2001-2003 budget. About the only people to take a hit during those special sessions were the cigarettes smokers. I don't smoke but I think it is unfair the way legislators pick on the most vulnerable -- those hooked on nicotine and I could go off on a tirade about other "addictions" that could be taxed too but you know what they might be. One newspaper article said the lawmakers raised cigarette taxes and delayed an income tax cut. They tapped reserves and used other one-time revenues for $963 million and cut agency budgets by more than $720 million.
The article reported the referral to the voters was a compromise between lawmakers who preferred to impose a temporary tax without sending it to voters and those who wanted to balance the budget with spending cuts.
Article 1, Section 1 of the Bill of Rights in Oregon's constitution says all free governments are founded on the authority of the people and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness and they have at all times a right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper. So what happened after the vote? "Public safety" was jeopardized. Prisoners were turned loose. Some state police will be laid off the first of February.
Our legislature convened in mid-January and the Capitol has been inundated daily with the disabled, elderly, habitual drug users in treatment programs, unwed teenage mothers and the list goes on. The media is given the "down and out" plenty of ink and TV coverage with non-stop interviews of their plights.
On MLK's birthday (a holiday) the schools bused kids, parents and teachers to the Capitol. Protesters have stood in the rain while TV cameras rolled. The disabled took up residency inside the Capitol doors and were asked to leave.
The 55% of Oregonians who voted "no" does not reflect a lack of compassion but rather they finally recognized the life boat is sinking and if one sinks, we all sink and to pass this band aid measure would simply mean more and more bandaid measures and we would become "enablers." When the leg has gangrene, it has to be amputated in order to save the body.
What an opportunity for friends, family, neighbors, churches and other organizations to step in to help support the truly needed as it was before the FDR era when he wanted to put a chicken in every pot but he wanted someone else to pay for it, which started us down the slippery slope of socialism and all these unconstitutional government handouts.
Unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets. Oregon, like the majority of other states, has been in financial trouble for many years but despite all the warnings and red flags, they kept spending and creating new programs believing they could throw enough fear into voters the last few days so they would vote "yes". One article said many eyes across the U.S. were on Oregon. Despite having the nation's highest unemployment rate, I guess they still expected to get blood out of a turnip!! Go figure!!
And while we can point a finger at others, three fingers point back at us -- the voters. We kept voting politicians into office who made all these promises and helped create these unconstitutional programs in direct violation of their oath of office. The growth of government workers has resulted in both our state and federal governments becoming gigantic but incredibly inefficient, middlemen and a staggering amount of money which originally was supposed to go from the producers of wealth to the "poor" got lost in the shuffle and it shuffled right into the pockets of the millions of the government workers. We've all been betrayed -- the needy, the government workers, the voters. We've been betrayed by some traitorous politicians who disregarded their oath and put their re-election before the good of the country.
Rather than putting some money away for a rainy day and being rewarded for their frugality, agency heads knew they had to spend it all so they could get more the next budget cycle. These "youngins'" weren't born when the '29 crash hit. All they could see was LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL. They are unprepared for another depression and hard times. A delightful 90-year old well-educated woman with whom I had lunch recently called them "adolescents." The whole system breeds increases in good times -- in the numbers of employees, in salaries and perks and in dollars spent.
Those who work in the social services do not want a solution for poverty, the disabled, the drug addicted, child abuse, illegitimate children an on and on ad nauseum. And the education system continues dumbing 'em down which is a contributing factor to many of these problems. On the contrary, it is in their best interest to see the welfare system grow, rather than decrease, so that their jobs are safe, their pensions, long vacations and paid holidays secure. In addition to the "legal" holidays which total nine in Oregon, the governor also gives each of the state workers a paid "governor's day" which few know about unless they are in government. And like FDR, the governor expects the taxpayers to pick up the tab for the governor's generosity. I won't even get into the year-long paid sabbaticals available to certain government workers.
In reality, all programs designed to help the 'poor" are programs to improve the well-being of those who administer them and adds to the redistribution of the wealth - a very subtle but real dangerous maneuver.
For every dollar taken from the "producers" and given to the "consumers" to redistribute a portion to the truly needy is money taken out of the economy and as a result, the entrepreneurs who create jobs do not have the funds to increase their businesses and give jobs to more future taxpayers.
Expediency-minded politicians hope to keep pulling in the votes of government employees by offering government services which requires "administration" and the cycle continues until the balloon bursts! No new businesses, no new jobs, no new taxpayers and our economy goes into the toilet. Yes, I know all about the crooks at Enron! Every society has had snake oil sales people but no one forces people to buy their stock. That is why my dictionary has the phrase: Caveat Emptor. However, we are forced to pay our taxes with threat of fines and imprisonment.
And that, my friends, is why Oregonians finally woke up to this fact and voted "no" and we hope other states will sit up and take notice. We don't have a two-party system. We have a one party system called DEMOPUBLICANS and when you check the votes of the "Republicans" you will find, rarely do they vote against bigger government. When they run for office, it is all rhetoric - baloney about cutting taxes and reducing government.
© 2003 - Betty Freauf - All Rights Reserved
Budget Committee Members Don't Have to Know Subtraction
Betty is a former Oregon Republican Party activist having served as state party secretary, county chairman, 5th congressional vice chairman and then elected chairman, a precinct worker for many years and twice ran unsuccessfully for the Oregon State Legislature. The Republican tradition is to stay neutral in Primary races but in Betty's case. they supported her opponent. E-Mail: [email protected]