Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Good ideas and bad ideas

I've been thinking about politics and our primarily two-party system lately.  Although I'm a registered democrat, I kind of wish we could get rid of the whole "party" thing.  Why can't we just evaluate ideas for their worth and decide if we think they are usable or not without dismissing ideas just because they come from one party or another?

I say this because it seems like even people from the Republican party have good ideas sometimes and people from the Democratic party have lousy ideas sometimes.  But really, they're just ideas.  I think most of the time the intent is to come up with a solution to a problem that will make most of the people happier.  Take for example, National Health Care.   Now here's an idea that we've been kicking around for several decades.  People who would to have a national health care plan would like to see an end to unnecessary suffering caused by lack of access to health care when problems are small.  It could also be argued that treating problems when they are small or providing options that prevent health problems in the first place would ultimately save money in the long run.  These seem like good ideas.  However, this is currently viewed as a "Democrat" idea.  Therefore, some people will dismiss it immediately because it came from the "other" party.  Does this make it a bad idea?  Of course not.  Wouldn't it be nice if those who are currently criticizing it would step up and say here's how we could make the proposed plan better?

One of the complaints raised about the recently passed National Health Care plan is that it will raise taxes to the point that people will be broke.  I suppose that could happen if the money is not managed right, but instead of saying "no health care plan", why not figure out how to make it work without breaking everyone financially in the process?   Be part of the solution instead of just dismissing the entire idea.

Sometimes the Democrats come up with lousy ideas.  For example, here in the state of Washington, we currently do not have a state income tax.  What we DO have is super high property taxes and sales taxes.  Believe me, we do not get off the hook!  Currently there is a movement to impose a state income tax "on the rich".  Rich being defined as those who make above a certain dollar amount annually.   Again, I think the intent is good.  We seem to keep running out of money and someone is trying to figure out how to get more. .  Basically the referendum proposes imposing an income tax on anyone who makes above $200K per year.  The argument is that ultimately this would reduce property taxes . 

A lot of Democrat members like this idea; a lot of Republican people do not.  Remember that I said I am a registered Democrat?  Well, I agree with the elephants on this one.  I think this is an idea that has not been thought out all the way to the end.  First, I think it's just a "foot in the door" for state income taxes.  Most likely what will happen is that eventually everyone will be paying income tax, whether you're "rich" or not.  Second, I don't believe for one minute that my property taxes will go down.  The whole reason an income tax is being proposed is because there is not enough money.  I fail to see how increasing taxes in one place and decreasing it in another will result in more money.  At best, it will result in the same amount of money.  At worst, it will result  in LESS money than before.  Even though I am a democrat, I label this as a "bad idea".

I'm sure there are folks who will disagree with me on both positions, but I'm pretty sure I'm right on these!

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