Thursday, October 19, 2006

The corporation-friendly Los Angeles Times:

This year in California there are a number of ballot initiatives. One of them, Proposition 86, would impose an additional $2.60 per pack tax on cigarettes. The money raised would mostly go for paying for emergency medical services. The Times realizes that this is making a pariah group pay for services that should be paid for by all citizens, but they support it anyway. From their editorial: (excerpts, emp add)
TAXING SMALL GROUPS THAT ARE unpopular and lack political clout is generally unwise and even morally suspect, especially if the revenue to be raised will go to programs for which everyone should pay. Proposition 86 at first glance appears to fall into this category. Smokers are the targeted class, and healthcare is the needed program. The initiative would impose a $2.60-per-pack tax on cigarettes sold in California to pay for emergency medical care, expand health insurance for children and fund programs to discourage smoking.

... revenue from Proposition 86 would extend to health programs unrelated or only tangentially related to tobacco use, and Californians must at some point — sooner rather than later — come to terms with our collective duty to pay.

We all should pay for emergency services for the uninsured. We all should pay to expand the Healthy Families program ...

But the economic and political fact of life is that the Legislature so far has proved unable to pay for kids, and a broad tax is today untenable.

Californians should vote yes on Proposition 86.
So that's that. But look! There is another measure, Proposition 89, that would substantially expand public financing of political campaigns, and it would get the money from corporations. Here is what the Los Angeles Times has to say about it: (excerpts, emp add)
No on Proposition 89
Clean money is fine in principle, but it's wrong to single out corporations to pay for political campaigns.

ANY EFFORT TO sever the financial link between political candidates and the special interests that help put them in office and keep them there merits serious consideration. If candidates could choose full public financing, as they can in Arizona and Maine, they would be able to spend more time discussing issues with voters and less time pursuing potential donors for cash.

The funding would come from a tax on corporations and financial institutions. Voters can disagree over whether California overtaxes or undertaxes corporations and banks, but it is indisputable that using them, exclusively, as the source of election funding focuses a burden on one interest that should be shared by all.
Talk about a double standard.


I think it was (egad!) Chomsky who said we can also view this as single standard of consistency: Anything that burdens lower and middle class people is fine, but anything that burdens rich people in the least is opposed.

Your point remains brilliantly argued, though. What bastards at the "new" LA Times.

By Blogger Mitchell J. Freedman, at 10/19/2006 4:40 PM  

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