Sunday, June 1, 2014

A liberal's tenuous grip on cause and effect

The front page of the morning's Austin American-Statesman includes (behind the subscriber wall) an article about surging property taxes in Austin, and the "irate homeowners" now confronting their new appraisals. Let's consider the first such homeowner, quoted without any suggestion of irony:

"I'm at the breaking point," said Gretchin Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8500 this year.

"It's not because I don't like paying taxes," said Gardner, who attended both meetings [of "irate homeowners"]. "I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can't afford to live here anymore."

My first thought: "When she reads her own words in the paper Ms. Gardner is going to think: 'Oh, no. I've beclowned myself before the entire city of Austin. My friends will think I'm an idiot.'"

My second thought: "No, that won't happen, because the odds are very high her friends agree with her and see nothing inconsistent with voting for all that big government and expecting their taxes to stay low nonetheless. That's what makes big government go around."

Anyway, that Ms. Gardner can say such a thing without the slightest recognition that -- oops -- all the things she voted for have now cost so much that she cannot afford to live in Austin is both comic and tragic and, in the end, a painful reminder that most voters do not have an even tenuous grip on cause and effect. Indeed, hard as it may be to believe, it gets better. Gardner goes on to say that "[s]omeone needs to step in and address the big picture." How, pray tell, are even honest and competent politicians to make sense of constant demands for new services and howls of outrage over higher taxes from the exact same voters?

16 comments:

LL said...

"Addressing the big picture" inevitably requires that somebody else pay for their big government luxuries. It's the very essence of socialism.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

I think the word "beclowned" is underrated.

Anonymous said...

To be fair, property values have soared in Austin since 1991, and this has led to an increase in property taxes.

Gretchen is probably sitting on $400K or more of property that she acquired 1n 1991 for a little over $100K . In the 04 zipcode, that is a nice, but not especially luxurious house.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in Austin. In fact I spent much of my life there. It was the only place I've ever lived where there were demonstrations at the capitol demanding a State income tax and reported breathlessly in the paper as, "Everyone wants it. Everyone." Also the first place I ever lived where a bond or tax proposal is put on the ballot over and over again--sometimes for decades--really, in perpetuity until it eventually passes. And, although the electric rates are among the highest in the Nation, the head of the City owned Utility once bragged that under city management there was a 75% profitability maintained always so that their bonds could always be sold anywhere, anytime.
Decades ago hippies would interview for jobs in Silicon Valley and return mugged and shocked at property prices and taxes and traffic. All of Austin is now San Jose at rush hour with more toll roads than anywhere else in the United States. Complete with Californians. That house you bought for $60K back in the day requires $1000+/month to hold onto and $400/month to live in minimum. No one, I mean no one retires there.

Cato said...

Beclowned is extremely underrated. Wonderful word.

North State DA said...

Liberals always lose the #waronmath

North State DA said...

Librals always lose the #waronmath

North State DA said...

Liberals always lose the #waronmath

North State DA said...

Liberals lose every battle in the #waronmath

The Political Hat said...

Now, now. According to Leftist ideology, all that spending was "investment" that ought to have created a utopia where everyone became productive and handed over a tuppence in taxes!

Clearly, if it didn't work out that way, according to the Left, it must be the fault of the Reich-wing Koch Bros.!

The Political Hat said...

Now, now. According to Leftist ideology, all that spending was "investment" that ought to have created a utopia where everyone became productive and handed over a tuppence in taxes!

Clearly, if it didn't work out that way, according to the Left, it must be the fault of the Reich-wing Koch Bros.!

Jess said...

You can't fix stupid, but you sure can tax enough dummies into thinking it's possible.

red sweater said...

"How, pray tell, are even honest and competent politicians to make sense of constant demands for new services and howls of outrage over higher taxes from the exact same voters?"

I reject the premise. (Honest and competent politicians? As if either alone wasn't incredible enough.)

But, the answer is deficit spending. Always.

Dave LeBlanc said...

We are getting more and more voters such as this here in Houston. The love voting for nice things and then get upset when the tax bill goes up. Add to that our own city's leaders who have a hard time with the truth about what things will cost and soon our booming, growing city will start to resemble Chicago.

I guess that is one way to even things out: screw everything up. Succeeding through failure.

Jeff Greeson said...

Just as an FYI- I only posted 3 times because the Captcha here is extra hard, and there is no clear message that your post has been submitted. I kept thinking I screwed it up, and trying again :)

TravisCAD said...

Her place is appraised at $650k.

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