With the election next week, many of you who plan to vote already know who you will be voting for and why.
The onslaught of radio and television advertisements and the general overhanded nature of newspaper and Internet coverage, will not further persuade or dissuade those who are already satisfied with the choices they have made.
There are always some voters who don’t know who they will vote for until they are inside the voting booth – and this election season will be no different for them.
There are many major statewide elections that are too close to call and even the congressional races are looking unpredictable.
We are living in an extraordinary time. This will prove to be an extraordinary election for a variety of reasons. This we do know: there is very little interest or desire held among the people for significant sacrifices to be made.
We all know that government has spent itself into the ground.
This has been complicated by the recession which has forced state and city governments to cut back on expenses.
We, the people, have cut back on our personal expenses and probably to a much greater extent than government has. But even with the dramatic cutbacks, there remain bills coming due for excess government spending that cannot and will not be resolved with tax cuts.
At the national level, social security’s future is hanging in the balance with a Sword of Damocles hanging over it unless something is done to put it on a secure financial footing.
Medicare suffers from the same income deficiencies.
Neither of these major programs will be made financially sound by cutting taxes.
In Massachusetts, we have a $22 billion underfunded pension system, runaway costs for health insurance, and a population largely unwilling to accept lesser public schools and lesser public services.
Everyone wants more or wants just the same for the coming years but not many want to pay for it – and none of our public services at this point will be improved or maintained indefinitely with lower taxes.
Candidates pleading and arguing for lower taxes are appealing.
Cutting taxes decreases government’s income. In Massachusetts, we are facing a $2 billion deficit for fiscal year 2011. Cutting taxes is not an impossibility and both gubernatorial candidates should be telling us that. The impossibility is that by cutting taxes the $2 billion deficit is going to disappear.
Whomever wins, the Democratic Governor Deval Patrick or his Republican challenger Charlie Baker or the Independent Tim Cahill, faces a $2 billion deficit.
That deficit and removing it has the potential of causing the worst disruption in the delivery of state services in the past 20 years. No tax cut is going to erase that deficit when it will be an upping of the taxes we pay that will do the job.
We face this hurdle no matter who wins.
How we face it is what this election is all about.