what some are describing as a "conspiracy" against the
initiative, the state media has been nearly silent on the issue.
to Cut Taxes? Dont Look to the Media for Help
By Mark T.
recently signed into law an increase in the federal governments
credit limit from $5.95 trillion to $6.4 trillion dollars, a nearly
eight percent increase. Forget about the relative merit, or lack
thereof, of each of the federal programs accounting for the increased
demand of taxpayer money, focus instead on the fact that our federal
government can unilaterally raise its own credit limit. Imagine
having the power to raise your own credit limit; thats a scary
thought for most of us.
As is often
the case, budget binges come in waves, and state governments, despite
a nationwide epidemic of budget shortfalls, continue pushing the
spending bandwagon. Take Massachusetts ("Taxachusetts"
for some) for example. During the past decade, citizens there have
seen their states budget increase from $10 billion in 1991
to $23 billion in 2001.
to the states ballooning budget, the Massachusetts Libertarian
candidate for governor, Carla Howell, began a campaign to drastically
reverse the trend. Howells group, calling itself "Carla
Howells Libertarian Committee for Small Government",
has collected enough signatures to put a measure on Novembers
ballot that would repeal the Massachusetts income tax.
Thanks to the
efforts of Howell and thousands of concerned citizens, Massachusetts
voters will have the opportunity to vote for their own tax cuts.
Ending the income tax would cut the Massachusetts budget by nearly
half, forcing politicians to prioritize truly necessary programs
and cut waste. This is grassroots activism at its best. This is
big news. But try convincing the media of that.
In what some
are describing as a "conspiracy" against the initiative,
the state media has been nearly silent on the issue. Only one broadcast
TV station has covered this story in the past eight months, and
then only locally. There has been virtually no newspaper coverage.
It is as if the media would like people to go to the polls ignorant
to the fact that such a measure even exists. If the media can be
enraptured by the banal story of a wealthy egotist circling the
bottom of the Earth in a balloon, news of a states citizens
having the chance to repeal their state income tax ought to at least
warrant a sound bite. If people have not heard about the topic,
they obviously have no chance to debate the measures pros
media would be all over this story. If the measure passes, it will
have huge ramifications for the state and country. Other governments
would be put on notice that they are accountable for their spending.
It would be a triumph of the little guys over the big guys, a truly
American story. So why does Big Media -- or even state media for
that matter -- not cover it?
longer news that much of our nations media has a decidedly
liberal agenda. It likely does not want the Massachusetts (or any
other states) income tax to be repealed and keeping voters
uninformed is the best way to accomplish that goal. But why does
Big Media care about government spending?
quite simple; reducing government power reduces the Fourth Estates
relevance, influence and power. Big Media has taken it upon itself
to help shape the countrys priorities whether citizens like
it or not. For example, much of Big Media reported negatively on
the Bush Administrations tax cuts. It also supports campaign
finance reform, which gives an almost monopoly voice to Big Media
at election time.
information on the airwaves, Big Media will be better able to help
elect government officials who will then spend taxpayer money the
way that Big Media wants them to. Big Media will protect the government
cookie jar, increasing its role as de facto policy maker. For Big
Media, it pays to be friends with a government that can raise its
own credit limit because, in a way, that power is then enjoyed by
it as well. Thats a pretty cozy symbiosis, one that neither
Big Media nor certain politicians would want to give up just because
some citizens dont share or cant afford the Big Government
dream. The phrase, "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts
absolutely," has never rung more true. Massachusetts voters
have a chance to reverse that this November.
July 19, 2002]
T. Moore holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics & Environmental
Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara and is currently
pursuing a Juris Doctor & Master of Public Policy degree at
Tax Barely Survives in Taxachusetts
Tuesday, Massachusetts voters nearly passed a statewide ballot
initiative (Question 1) to eliminate the state income tax.
The measure failed 55-45 percent. However, the vote sent
a strong message to Beacon Hill that there's little support
among Bay State citizens for tax increases as a way to solve
Massachusetts' budget crisis. It appears the tax-happy appropriators
in the state house are going to have to do what the citizens
they represent do when times are tough: CUT SPENDING.
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