“We can have a democratic society or we can have the concentration of great wealth in the hands of a few. We cannot have both.” – Louis Brandeis
We congratulate all of the winners of the 2010 election: Rush Holt re-elected to the U.S. Congress 12th District, Golden for Sheriff, Clifton and Arnone elected to the Board of Chosen Freeholders and Sharfenberger re-elected and Settembrino newly elected to the Middletown Township Committee.
We thank John D’Amico for three years on the Board of Chosen Freeholders working for fiscal responsibility, transparency and ethics standards. John and his running mate, Janice Venables, as well as Eric Brophy running for Sheriff, were a credit to the democratic process. We thank Sean Byrnes for three years of extraordinary service to Middletown. Sean and his running mate, Mary Mahoney, ran an honest and credible campaign.
Now the work begins.
The people have spoken and they want “change” (as they often do,) but then the question, change from what to what? From bigger government to smaller government, they say. What does that mean, we ask? What government policies and departments do we cut?
Do voters want to eliminate Social Security, and Medicare? Shall we do away with Department of Transportation, and FAA, and not worry about land and air safety. Is the food and Drug Administration necessary? Do we need a Department of Education to plan for the education of the nation’s children? Do we need consumer protection or will manufacturers be honest about their products? Is it OK to cut spending on infrastructure and not be concerned about what happens to our bridges and tunnels? Should we privatize Social Security and let the Wall St. wizards manage our money? Do we need oversight of the financial industry? Should we have a flat tax of 20% so that a person who earns $30,000. annually pays $6000. taxes? Do we need Homeland Security? Should we stop both wars and bring the troops home? Would we choose to not save money and not give all Americans real security with a comprehensive health care plan – a plan that will insure 30 million more people instead of having them use emergency rooms, a plan that prevents an insurance company from dropping your insurance if you get sick, a plan that allows dependents to stay on their parents policies until they are 26, a plan that makes insurers cover preventive services and annual checkups without cost-sharing, a plan that eliminates lifetime limits on how much an insurance company will pay for treatment? Do we not want this plan? What does small government mean to you?
We further have to ask ourselves about extending the Bush tax cuts which are about to expire, and which, if permanently extended, would cost $4 trillion over the next decade. That’s $4 trillion added to the national debt. Some want to temporarily extend the cuts for 98% of the taxpayers – the middle and lower class who would, of necessity, use the money to buy goods and stimulate the economy. Some want to extend the tax cuts for all including the top 2% which alone would cost $700.billion over the next decade and by all economists’ standards would not stimulate the economy. “The richest 1/10 of 1% would get a tax cut of $370,000 according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and that provides only a modest economic stimulus because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings” and historically such tax cuts have not produced jobs. Moreover, the honest voter has to ask the question – what services would I eliminate to make up for that $700,000,000,000. in revenue not collected? Is it OK to stop unemployment benefits for the 14.8 million unemployed people before the holiday? “Will we choose to help zillionaires instead of the unemployed?” Nicholas Kristof asks.
On the local level in Middletown, do we continue with the one-party rule and the form of government that has led to a 45% increase in the municipal portion of the taxes in the past six years due to mismanagement and lack of planning?