Are you prepared to vote on November 6?

Midland Daily News October 25, 2012

 

This election cycle is quickly drawing to a close but the most important event has yet to take place: voting on Tuesday November 6. Voting is not only a right but a privilege. Here are some thoughts on the issues facing us.

Uncertainty

Some people have been declaring that there is too much uncertainty in the financial market for people to invest and create jobs. But there is always uncertainty. It seems if someone says something often enough, somehow it becomes true. Nothing represents this more than the fear tactic of uncertainty bandied about. Certainty is an illusion.

Social Security

For many years some politicians have been telling us that social security is broke. This program has been and continues to be one of the most efficient and successful programs ever devised by our government. It provides basic security for millions of people when the breadwinner dies or becomes disabled or retires.

 

There is a problem but it lies on the desks of Congress and the last five Presidents who failed to take the necessary means to bolster the program. The changes that need to take place are very simple: raise taxes, lower benefits, postpone retirement age, or a combination of all of these. The details will of course be challenging.

Deficits and debt

The national debt has grown substantially under President Obama, but not any faster than under the previous four presidents, except Bill Clinton who actually was paying down the debt with a surplus in his last four budgets. Again the solution is simple: reduce spending and/or raise taxes. But one side only wants to talk of reducing expenditures. This is not acceptable when tax rates are grossly unfair. Too many talk of tax reform but fail to introduce any legislation to change the inequities.

 

One cannot talk of reducing or eliminating tax loopholes, deductions and exemptions and at the same time say there will be no tax increase. Reducing or closing these items will automatically increase some people’s taxes by definition or it is not tax reform. That is simple arithmetic.

 

A news commentator recently said that there are 500,000 households with an income of $100,000 who pay no income tax. Closing loopholes and deductions will mean these people will pay taxes, and rightfully so – a tax increase for them.

Health Care

The Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) made significant changes in health care access. There are provisions in that act that need to be fine tuned or perhaps eliminated. The transition to better access to health care is not easy but is is absolutely necessary. Many of the provisions in this act were Republican ideas!

Jobs

The issue of jobs is very complex. Naturally businesses create jobs or people form their own business. Jobs are created by demand for products and services which are paid for by people with a job or income of some kind. These are two sides of the same issue. Employees are just as important as employers when it comes to job creation.

 

This issue ties in with government deficits as well. Reducing what the government spends will necessarily result in job reductions, thus creating more people looking for work.

Education

Tied to the job issue is education. People need to be prepared for the jobs being created. Yet as a nation we have diminished the importance of education by lowering funding and standards, taking it for granted, not encouraging scientists and engineers. One of the disastrous changes in funding education in Michigan was turning over our property tax dollars to the state for more equitable distribution. That has not worked. It is time to repeal that law and turn over control of schools to the local districts once again.

Ballot proposals

There are six state proposals in Michigan. Five propose to amend the Michigan Constitution. Also two millage renewals are on the ballot in Midland County. Here is the wording of the title from a sample ballot. Please read the entire proposal at: 

https://webapps.sos.state.mi.us/mivote/SelectPublicBallot.aspx

Statewide:

1 A REFERENDUM ON PUBLIC ACT 4 OF 2011 -

THE EMERGENCY MANAGER LAW

2. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION

REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

3. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION

TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY

4. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION

TO ESTABLISH THE MICHIGAN QUALITY HOME CARE COUNCIL

AND PROVIDE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

FOR IN-HOME CARE WORKERS

5. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION

TO LIMIT THE ENACTMENT OF NEW TAXES BY STATE GOVERNMENT

6. A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION

REGARDING CONSTRUCTION OF

INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES AND TUNNELS

 

There are two local millage renewal requests: PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SERVICES MILLAGE RENEWAL in Midland County and DELTA COLLEGE MILLAGE RENEWAL

Conclusion

We need people who are not only willing to make tough decisions but decisions that take into account the common good of the entire state or country, not just seniors like me nor the wealthy nor teachers nor business owners nor recipients of government benefits. All of these go hand in hand in an intricate mesh of taxes, jobs, and the common good. What candidates are up to the task? That’s at the heart of our vote on Tuesday November 6.