A motorist drops off a ballot at a Multnomah County election headquarters drop box in Portland, Ore., Monday. Oregon voters will determine the fate of tax Measures 67 and 68 in Tuesday’s vote-by-mail special election. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
We are about to discover the American voter’s capacity for rapacity. Or at least the Oregon voter’s.
Today Oregon voters will decide whether to live by the axiom: Don’t tax me. Don’t tax thee. Tax that guy under the tree.
On the ballot are Measures 66 and 67, which would impose higher taxes on people and businesses with income in the six-figure range. According to AP, "The stakes in the struggle between business interests and public employee unions are high — the revenue from the two measures is expected to account for about 5.5 percent of the state’s general fund budget over the next two years."
Opponents argue passage will hurt businesses and drive up the already 11 percent jobless rate.
The attitude of some voters was reflected in a quote in the L.A. Times. "I’m convinced. Let’s tax the hell out of ’em," the Times quoted Rebecca Maxwell, a young software developer from Portland.
The Oregonian has editorially opposed the tax hike, saying, "Measure 66 is an invitation for 97.5 percent of Oregonians to jack up the income taxes of the other 2.5 percent." It is being sold as a fairness issue, but the paper says it is anything but.
The backers of the measure are said to be small businesses and public employee unions, including teachers. There had been talk of demanding lower pay raises for public employees and forcing them to pay more for their health benefits.
Even though it is surely apocryphal, it calls to mind that old quote attributed to Alexander Tytler, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury."
Does this, perhaps, make Vin Suprynowicz’s suggestion that only net tax payers should be allowed the right of suffrage seem a little less outrageous? What do you think?