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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Chicken Little may be right this time

Need any more proof that things are shaky in Massachusetts -- even if we aren't experiencing the same level of economic distress as other states. Try this. Or this.

While the Bay State may now loudly proclaim that we have shed the "Taxachusetts" label, try telling that to John and Jane Q. Public who are making less and spending more.

The UMass report on the increasing gap between rich and poor simply confirms their reality. For many people it's a matter of being grateful they have a job at a time when gasoline and groceries are up and raises non-existent.

There's certainly no comfort in the "let them eat cake" words of Beacon Hill Institute supply sider David Tuerck, who says all people at the low end of the economic scale need to do is spend less.
"What really matters is expenditures, what a household can and does spend," Tuerck said. "If Bill Gates's income goes to zero, he could still live a pretty good lifestyle spending his billions."
In fact, that may be part of Tuerck's motives in such a callous statement because he knows Mr. and Ms. Public can do just that by eliminating their income tax burden.

Cynics abound that the threat of income tax repeal is Chicken Little-ism because the Legislature will simply re-enact it. House Speaker Sal DiMasi has virtually promised just that. But that doesn't change the cold, hard reality that things will get very tough, very quickly. Like the next day.

Think we have problems with the Turnpike Authority and the MBTA now? Just wait. Student loans? Fugedabouit. There will be a very hollow ring to the term "full faith and credit" well before a solution is put into place.

Police, fire, education and trash pickup?

Voters are being pinched hard and are very angry. Not even the fact that Carla Howell is using the donations for the Question 1 campaign to support herself is likely to make a difference if you look at the more rational comments left on the Herald web site.

It has taken Massachusetts more than 20 years to dig itself into an incredibly deep hole. It will take a lot longer than two years to get out of it.

But it's becoming increasingly clear that the past two two years is about all the time many taxpayers were willing to wait.

There's a mess of trouble heading our way down the turnpike. And the T. And over bridges.

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