Right issue, wrong debate
Too much energy is being wasted on whether or not Gov. Pawlenty broke his pledge to the taxpayers with his cigarette fee. As long as conservatives, Republicans, and the general public focus on this issue, the left wins by not having to defend their flawed argument.
It’s not that we’re damaging the chances of reelecting Pawlenty (which we are), it’s that the pledge has became the issue, not the debate over limiting the size of government. Whether or not you agree with the fee, chances are you don’t like the idea of government getting bigger.
Liberals have done an excellent job in the past at painting conservatives as greedy, that’s we’re only anti-tax because we want more money. Sure, that may be part of it, but there’s more to it than that. We believe that a government that best serves its people is small, has limited powers, and keeps to itself.
Then there’s the issue of higher taxes stunting economic growth. As Pawlenty was sworn into office, he faced a tremendous challenge in overcoming a $4.2 billion budget deficit. Much to the dismay of big government advocates, Pawlenty cut spending rather than raise taxes during a time of economic instability. The outcome? Minnesota has more people employed than ever before at 2,718,400 people. Our unemployment is at 3.7%, which isn’t too bad. Like the fee or not, you have to admit that Pawlenty holding the line on taxes was certainly a deciding factor in our economic boost.
We have the better argument, but are too busy fighting clawing at each other’s throats. I’d bet that most of the swing voters out there don’t give a damn whether or not Pawlenty broke his pledge. These are the people we need to reach out to. We have the better argument, so let’s get off this fee crap and move forward.