Got your complaint license renewed?

It’s voting day. It’s a flawed system… but less flawed than any other way one might fix the system.

So, you weren’t planning to vote? Hey, it’s cheap fun. If the person you voted for wins and do well, you can be proud of them; if they do a bad job, you’ve earned the right to be pissed at them for not living up to your expectations. And if they lose, you can look at all the bad things the new guy does and take satisfaction that you at least tried to stop that schmuck.

Don’t know the candidates well enough? You can still cast a meaningful vote — me, I cast most of my votes for third-party candidates. In my state, the incumbent who got into office under ridiculous circumstances and took a while to learn that bullying doesn’t work in office here is running against a guy who is so uninspiring and uninspired that his campaign relied primarily on equating the incumbent to Bush. Problem is, no one in the state was about to fall for that, as the incumbent is pretty much the other end of his party’s spectrum. The outcome of this vote is decided, so there was nothing to lose by casting a vote against the whole “two party” system, showing a little support for a third. Remember, the big thing standing in the way of third party candidates is people feel they can’t win and thus don’t support them – every vote you send their way make them look more viable in the public’s eye.

That’s not how I voted every race, mind you. If there was someone truly competent, I voted. The odds of me knowing they’re competent is slim, as my attention has been elsewhere this year. But there was a vote to cast that way.

I can’t tell you much about the local candidates… but in certain realms, I don’t think things are being handled well, so I cast on the “throw the bums out” system, voting against incumbents.

And then there are the propositions. We had a bunch of those this year… and luckily, on most of them I didn’t have to consider the issues too deeply. Look, here’s a bunch of things they want to finance by issuing bonds. Sure, improving the schools and the roads are good, even necessary… but none of these are unexpected interuptions. Schools and roads always need to be improved. This should be an ongoing expendeture and part of the budget, not a one-time expendeture with ongoing payments. Nay, I say!

Here are a bunch of ones that are clearly underwritten by some special interest in the hope of lining their pockets at our expense… generally “Save the puppies” laws. You know, “this proposition will save all the puppies and give the plastics industry millions of dollars to help them pollute the sreams.” I’m too smart for that.

Then there are the taxes. I’m not a “no new taxes” kind of guy (although I think the world would be better if we found a single point in the economic cycle to drain taxes from – the amount of effort that goes into tracking all of the different taxes is silly.) However, don’t give me a tax that adds a lot of overhead effort to small effect. That kills one of the new taxes on the list. Two others seem similar – a tax on cigarettes to fund medical stuff, and a tax on gas use to fund alternative energy. Both are pushed as taxes that discourage bad behavior by making it more expensive. The difference? Discouraging gas use is fighting against actions that harm everyone through pollution. Taxing smoking is charging people money for choosing to damage primarily themselves. I’m more freedom-oriented than that. (Besides, while smoking isn’t my vice, it sounds too much like taxing a vice I like. No comic book tax!)

And one badly=-placed tax to pay for election reform — it’s one of those “you get the benefits, we tax someone else” pushes (and yes, there’s some of that in the gas tax as well.) That rankles me — ask people if they’re willing to pay for the government they want. That would be the honest thing to do. But I want the reform, so I held my nose while voting for this compromise.

Did I vote right? Vote wrong? Danged if I know. But I kept my right to complain!

Published in: on November 7, 2006 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

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