Tuesday, March 2, 2010

50 Things (or fewer) I Need to Know about Debra Medina

This past Friday, the "Dallas Morning News" published a hard hitting look (excuse the sarcasm) at all of the gubernatorial candidates called "50 Things You Need to Know About _(insert Candidate's Name)__". To be fair, all of the candidates were covered in the same weak way. It read more like trivial pursuit game card answers than facts that I NEEDED to know about the candidates. Honestly, I am glad that Governor Perry's parents drove he and his then future wife around on their dates. That's probably a great policy that needs to be enacted by many more parents of sons! And it's great that Debra Medina's parents had her play the tenor sax. Music education is important. But, again, are these the things I need to know about the candidates?

When I started thinking about it, I realized that I knew many facts about where Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson and Governor Rick Perry stand on the issues. They have been in the public eye for a while now. But I still had many questions about Debra Medina, and the more I looked into her, the more concerned I became...

Here are my questions that I would have wanted answered from Medina before today. As there were no satisfactory answers to these questions, she did not receive my vote. It seems as though Medina, pushes hot buttons, then gets the crowd riled up, then after she gets the desired results, when she is asked what her plan is or what she meant by something, she backs off. This is the difference between being a candidate and being a governor.

1. Child Protective Services...In a speech in Witchita Falls, Medina said that CPS should be disbanded. This is a complicated issue. When you are a candidate you can afford to pick a hot button issue, like CPS, in an area that has a negative view of something, like CPS, and just push it. The crowd was riled up and walked away feeling like they were going to give their vote to Medina. Here are the questions...since CPS is provided for under law, does Medina understand all the complications involved in dissolving CPS? What is her plan for enacting a new law to provide for these services? While the Sheriff's department and local police departments could take on the criminal activities, what happens to the non-criminal services that CPS provides such as adoption services? Do we create a new agency for those? Are we really willing to burden an already over burdened police department with these services? Isn't that what the agency was created for? Wouldn't it be better to have an audit and overhaul of the system we already have in place?

2. On the elimination of the Personal Property Tax...Although I would love to see this, I don't want someone to just promise this to me. I have been down that road before, or as I am one to say, "This is not my first rodeo. And this is not even my first time in this event!" If you are proposing the elimination of Personal Property Tax, I would love to hear the plan. How much is Medina planning to raise the sales tax to make up for the tremendous amount of money that the personal property tax brings in? What will it be to raised on? Will the sales tax be raised all at once and the property tax be eliminated all at once or will it be done on a sliding scale each year for the next few years? Or is Medina waiting until she is elected to make a plan only to find as former Governor Gilmore of Virginia once did with his No Car Tax promise that it is not as easy as it seems.

I have seen the document on the tax swap, in fact, I have heard proponents of a consumption tax suggest that we may eliminate the illegal immigration problem if we eliminated the Federal Income tax in favor of the consumption tax. The idea is this, when you do not have personal property tax, you have more spending money, therefore you will consume more, therefore you will be taxed about the same as you would have been anyway. Either way, you are being taxed. The only time this doesn't work, is if you are personally responsible and you don't consume much, which we can all tell ourselves we will do. But don't worry, they have a plan for that!

This model that is being used by the Medina campaign (as well as others) was published by John Maynard Keynes. If you don't know who Keynes is, he is the British economist who suggested in the 1930's that government not the free market could provide for the full employment of their workers as long those workers were willing to be flexible in their wages. In 1999, Time magazine named him one of most 100 influential people of the 20th century saying, "His radical idea that governments should spend money they don't have may have saved capitalism".

Here is the "Keynesian prescription for alleviating either slow growth or a low level of output at
the state level would include the following types of policy measures 1. Increase government spending, thereby directly increasing aggregate demand 2. Lower taxes, especially through rebates that will have the highest probability of raising consumption 3. Raise taxes on savings and imports to discourage those activities and thereby increase consumption."

I am not interested in a Governor who wants to increase government spending and believes in John Maynard Keynes style of economy.

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