Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: On Taxes

Public waste

Yes, Shirley Bianchi, you are mostly right (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3) that taxes are necessary and provide for social programs that we depend upon.

What seems to steam tax-increase protesters is the public waste in government and the constant pressure for more funding. Until governing entities clean out their “good ol’ boy” closets, purge the game playing and get inspired to work for real fixes, socialism will earn a bad rap.

Your comment about the Los Osos sewer is perfect. First you agree that “tax dollars can be wasted by government.” Then you talk about the “earmark” for Los Osos as a valid use of federal and state tax assistance. Maybe you can explain how “social justice” equates to asking for funding on an overpriced, energy hogging sewer project for Los Osos?

Tell me again why we should feel supportive of the county’s request for federal funding. You seem to have approved this project, blindly confident in your county’s behavior.

That’s where the ideal of socialism falls apart. When good people let bad things happen. Who told you anyway, that sewer pipes can’t cross a creek Bianchi? The same county staff who wasted three years and $7 million to block competition?

Linde Owen

Los Osos

Right on

Way to go, Shirley Bianchi! Your Viewpoint article is right on (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3). I’ve wondered for months (years?) what those who oppose taxes would say if suddenly there was no police force, no fire department, no road repair and no education for their children.

Of course, these are not the only services we buy with our tax dollars, but I don’t want to have to provide for any of these myself. Thanks for a well-thought-out article.

Carol Smeltzer

Paso Robles

Paying the price

Thank you, Shirley Bianchi, for your excellent synopsis of the effects of the two polarizing political philosophies that are rending our society into irreconcilable camps (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3).

It is abundantly clear that our current tax structure cannot support even the fundamental requirements of a modern society: education, law enforcement, infrastructure and help for those in need. You made a very good point that depriving others of needful services affects all of us.

Whatever happened to the America that was on the cutting edge of innovation? Other countries are besting us in almost every area, including health care, manufacturing, infrastructure and transportation. Why? Because we don’t want to pay the price — not only of progress, but even of the maintenance of what we once took for granted.

Alan Boehmer

Los Osos

Taxes necessary

Shirley Bianchi (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3) wrote about taxes with her usual insightful perspective and one of her points bears repeating: “Let’s get rid of this notion that taxes are bad. What they are used for can be bad, no question. We need to elect people to office who understand this distinction. We do not need people who refuse to raise taxes for any reason whatsoever.”

I don’t like taxes any more than the next person, but public education, infrastructure construction and maintenance, helping our most vulnerable citizens (kids, seniors, the ill), national defense, border security, etc. can only be done by government.

We must elect smart politicians who understand that the fiscal challenges our state and our nation face can be solved only with a blend of both cutbacks and increased taxes. Simplistic solutions, intractable positions and bumper sticker slogans just don’t work on complex issues.

Al Garcia

Paso Robles

Absolutism foolish

Kudos to Shirley Bianchi for her well-written essay on the important role of taxation in our nation’s history (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3).

There were two absolutist vows that I refused to take when I ran for state assembly several years ago: “no new taxes” and “no cuts in government spending.” Both vows are equally foolish.

There will always be circumstances when it is necessary for a legislator to vote either to raise taxes or to cut spending.

If a city is about to lose its entire police department, it is hard to imagine someone refusing to raise taxes for the sake of public safety if spending has already been cut to the bone. And it would be equally foolish to refuse to cut spending elsewhere if this is the only alternative.

If I am asked to choose between a fundamentalist and a pragmatist on decisions about taxation and spending, I will choose the pragmatist anytime.

Laurence Houlgate

San Luis Obispo

Get rid of notions

Yes, Shirley Bianchi, let’s get rid of this notion that taxes are bad, as espoused by fundamentalist, anti-tax people (“Taxes, socialism and weak links,” July 3). Let’s also get rid of this notion that spending is good, as espoused by fundamentalist career politicians.

Arthur Young