Think About Your Vote
by Alex Saitta
May 30, 2004
The body of this letter I wrote appeared in the letter to the editor section of the Greenville News and Easley Progress. I added a few paragraphs here and there, and lengthened it a bit.
I moved to Pickens for many reasons, one being, to flee the liberalism of the north. I'm alarmed many of our Upstate leaders, however, are moving to the center and drifting to the left. To stop this, I suggest we pay them to live in New York City a few months, so they'll learn how high taxes, over-spending, and social liberalism can really destroy a place.
There they would get the sense of why the financial capital of the world was brought to its knees. In New York City most every tax and spend government project or welfare program is embraced. This led to the city's bankruptcy in 1978, has caused its chronic fiscal deficits and has created a permanent welfare class. In business school I learned of the ills of over-taxing and over-spending, but living in New York City a few months is the only course anyone needs.
One of the few advantages of being from the north is, I saw a 30 year transition from good government to bad government. In the 1960's the leaders of northern states and cities took a turn to the left, and that has led to a laundry list of fiscal and social woes, problems and disasters today. Frankly, it has gotten so bad in some northern cities, it is beyond repair, so many northerners are fleeing to the south and west.
Some were unable to link the cause (liberalism) with the effect (fiscal and social woes) and have taken their liberal approach with them (that will destroy this part of the country too). I think they are dangerous people. Some, like myself, had their eyes shocked-wide-open and over the years we put two and two together. In my case, living in New York City made me a strong and very traditional conservative. (Liberals think conservatives, like me, are dangerous as well, so I guess we are even.)
I did not get involved in Pickens politics hoping to change this place and make it like the north. Just the opposite! I would like to see Pickens stay the same, hold on to its Christian morals and values, stop its drift to the left, and prevent what happened in the north, from happening here.
This place is changing, though, and my letters to the editor aren't the cause. Too many of our local leaders have traded in the southern way of traditional morals and limited government, for the liberal way of the north (anything-goes-morals, lots of government spending and regulation, and higher and higher tax rates to pay for it all). And I've spoken out against that.
For example, when I started to go to Pickens county council, school board and the city meetings, and the budget was discussed, I remember thinking, the discussion is little different than what I heard up north. When there is a revenue short fall, most always the response is how do we get more revenue? Rarely, do our elected officials say we need to cut spending and never did I hear, we have to increase worker productivity -- that is, do the same thing with less money.
I reached the conclusion, that like discussion and behavior would lead to a like outcome -- accelerating tax rates. The school board raised tax rates 7 of the last 9 years and it doesn't surprise me one bit. The same behavior, whether in the north or the south, results in the same result. The county government just had a round of property tax increases too.
Why so many once conservative county and city officials have gone astray, I don't know. My guess is the power has gotten to them and most are now consumed with getting re-elected, and they've forgotten how to say “no” when the budget calls on them to do so. Whatever the reason, it really doesn't matter; it is happening and their shift to the left will lead us to a disaster in the long run.
On Tuesday, June 8, when you get in the voting booth, don't think: "Both of these candidates have lived here a long time, so it doesn't matter who I vote for." If I'm not mistaken, most of the county councilmen have lived here for a long time and they are about to pass a huge northern-sized tax increase. Instead, ask yourself, "Which of these candidates will better preserve the southern way of traditional morals and limited government?", then we recommend, you vote for that person.