Yes, I know you probably thought from the headline that this post is all about why you should be against a woman's right to choose - it is anything but. The phrase "choose life" may be conservatives' abortion shibboleth, but, as my new newspaper column today shows, it better sums up the economic decision communities all over America must now face when it comes to taxes, spending and budget deficits.
For the last week or so, I've been reporting on the state of the tax debate in places like Oregon, Colorado Springs and Pennsylvania (among others). Voters there - and soon, everywhere - are being asked to choose between tax hikes on the ultra-wealthy and massive spending cuts for basic social services. That is, they are being asked to choose between economic life and economic death.
It's the same choice Congress will be forced to make quite soon, thanks to President Obama's solid proposal to end George W. Bush's high-income tax cuts - but also thanks to his awful proposals to potentially ram Social Security/Medicare cuts through a commission and freeze non-defense domestic spending.
Colorado Springs and Oregon, in particular, provide the clearest examples of what the tax reform-versus-spending-cuts choice means in real-world terms. The former is - at least in terms of basic social fabric - on its way to becoming an economic dystopia straight out of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, the latter just voted to try to avoid that same fate.
As I said, the choices those two communities have made are going to confront each of us in some way at some point soon, regardless of where we live. The budget challenges are real and they are geographically unavoidable. Here's hoping we make the right choice - the same choice we made in the early 1990s when during a recession we modestly raised income taxes to preserve some basic social services, and ended up creating a budget surplus and a solidly-growing economy. Here's hoping we make the same choice - the choice of economic life and not economic death.
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