Jeb Bush shows courage

I hope Gov. Robert Bentley and other Alabama politicians were listening when the former governor of Florida testified before the U.S. House Budget Committee last week.
Republican Jeb Bush explained his refusal to sign the anti-tax pledge crafted by Grover Norquist.
“I don’t believe you outsource your convictions and principles to people,” Bush said.
Bentley and many Alabama elected officials had no such scruples when they ran for office.
Their fear of Norquist is such that the people of Alabama will have no opportunity in September to decide whether they would prefer to contribute more taxes to avoid a drop in Medicaid services for the poorest Alabamians. Nor will they have a chance to determine whether the taxes on wealthy Alabamians should increase slightly, from being among the lowest in the nation.
They cannot even visit the question of whether corporate timber interests, taxed at the lowest rate in the nation, should be nudged up to assist chronically underfunded schools.
Instead, voters are confronted with the horrible choice of either reducing life-sustaining Medicaid funding or raiding school reserve funds. It’s a Norquist-approved choice that pleases his corporate backers. It also is irresponsible governance.
Understand, Bush did not say he favored raising taxes. He adhered closely to the Republican view that increasing taxes — even on wealthy corporate interests — hampers the profit incentives that lead to job-creating investment. What he implicitly recognized was that every state is different, and different times require different strategies. A good leader is one who can study all his constituents’ challenges and all the tools available. One of those tools is taxation.
Bush also showed courage that GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney has been unable to muster. Romney says repeatedly that his proposed budget will reduce the federal deficit. This reduction will result, he says, when he closes tax breaks for special interests.
Romney’s fear of offending those who would lose the benefit of those loopholes — or maybe his desire to create a bidding war among political contributors who hope to protect their loopholes — has left him silent on specifics.
Bush, on the other hand, said Congress should consider eliminating tax breaks for oil companies.
By demonstrating a touch of courage, Bush revealed the sad subservience that characterizes so many of our leaders in Washington and Montgomery.

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Filed under Alabama politics, Conservatism, Election 2012, obama, Romney

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