To the Editor:
The election results are in and I see we are again counting "winners" and "losers." Our politicians continue to blame the other guy rather while trying to get even rather than working on the problems this state and country face. We will remain in this miserable condition until we will no longer accept name-calling and doomsday rhetoric in place of constructive reasoning from our politicians. The issues we face are not "republican" or "democrat" or "liberal" or "conservative" or "rural" or "urban" and so long as those labels are sufficient to determine what we support or how we vote we are doomed to wallow in this mud.
I was heartened to read that Nancy Nickel and Glen Johnson, who on the surface might have been anti-business tax, were able to see beyond the 30-second television commercials. On the other hand, I see State Rep. Dennis Richardson responds to the results by fuming that Oregon has the highest personal income tax rate in the nation. Whether that is true (and it likely is) or not, it is a misleading statement designed to incite anger rather than to look at the issue of tax burden.
Perhaps Rep. Richardson would like to swap tax policy with the state of Washington since they have no income tax. That may sound good until you learn from the National Census Bureau (updated 12/09) that Washington at $2,360 ranks 17th among states in per capita tax rate, above the national average ($2,199), while Oregon with its "highest" personal tax rate is actually 41st in per capita taxes at $1,791.
To me these are examples of what is right and wrong when we look at these social issues, but please don't interpret this as party-oriented. The current "wrong" example comes from a Republican but the Democrats are no better. There is an old saw that says "America has the best government money can buy." As both political parties are driven by big dollar contributors, until the rest of us stop letting our political leaders sway us with half-truths and platitudes it won't change. We will continue to be "us" and "them" and to argue about "winners" and "losers" while our nation's and Oregon's problems go begging.