Oct 29, 2010 David Tyler Uncategorized
Travelling from Syracuse to Plattsburgh last weekend for a wedding took me through the heart of New York’s wild core, up past Speculator and through the little towns with funny names in the blazing orange forests of this politically-charged state.
“I’m mad as hell, too,” screamed the Paladino for Governor signs along the side of the Route 8. In New York’s back woods, these signs outnumbered the Cuomo for Governor signs by quite a margin, although polls show that statewide Paladino faces an almost impossible hill to climb.
Some at our dinner table were incredulous that people would have the temerity to put a Crazy Carl sign out on their lawn. Paladino won’t get my vote, but I understand how he and the other Tea Party candidates have been able to gather strength. The right wing radio blather about our Muslim, foreigner president signing death panel legislation may be effective in stirring the pot, but at the core of this movement is anger over the growth of government influence and spending, which should be of concern to all Central New Yorkers and all Americans.
It is not that the cost of government continues to grow – I expect that government will grow at least at the rate of inflation. It is that we have endangered the basic services that government has always provided in favor of programs and services that benefit a few.
We pay more in our school property taxes, but the districts lay off teachers and cut programs. Locally, many of our municipalities have held the line on the tax rate, which is admirable. But the services they can provide for the same number of dollars shrinks. As business owners we pay more for our health insurance, but the policies we can afford for our employees shrink year after year. Nothing I’ve seen in the post-Obamacare insurance cost estimates suggests this will change.
Last week, David Brooks of the New York Times argued in a column entitled The Paralysis of the State, that it is bloated public pension programs and the gradually burgeoning public largesse that put us in this predicament.
“All in all, governments can’t promote future prosperity because they are strangling on their own self-indulgence,” he wrote. “The antigovernment-types perpetually cry less, less, less. The loudest liberals cry more, more, more. Someday there will be a political movement that is willing to make choices, that is willing to say ‘this but not that.'”
He’s right, of course. But that also requires an electorate that is willing to subjugate their own self interest for the collective financial good, and we’re certainly not there yet.
As the parent of an autistic child, I am thankful that I live in Central New York. From the time my son was diagnosed more than three years ago, we have been touched by a wealth of wonderful therapists, educators and physicians. Almost all of these services are funded with public dollars thanks to a state that generously requires counties and school districts to administer these programs free of charge.
In many other states, families with autistic children are not so lucky. Some of those I’ve corresponded with either have no available resources or they go broke looking for answers. I don’t like living in one of the most heavily taxed counties in the country, but I am thankful everyday for my son’s support network. My school tax bill, bloated by New York’s special education mandates, is the best money I spend each year, but that may not be the case for my neighbor.
So while I agree with Brooks, I’m hopeful that the choices made protect the programs that give my son a viable opportunity for a typical life. I’d be mad as hell if they were taken away.
David Tyler is the publisher of Eagle Newspapers.