Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Don't Fear the Young Ones

(It is hard to look at this week's City Paper without thinking of this oldie but goodie.)

The Trib's David Brown had a nice little article over the weekend about the new wave of young Republicans doing battle in the region.

County Democratic Chairman James Burn said he doesn't feel threatened by the GOP push. Among Allegheny County's registered voters, Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1.

"It's going to be difficult to generate excitement with young voters when there's nothing on the Republican side to get excited about," Burn said. "We haven't even had to cast out a net. For the last 10 months, young voters have been jumping in the boat."

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Too bad, because we need a healthy Republican party to absorb all the conservatives; otherwise we don't know who and what we're voting for, and we get stuck with personality politics. Unfortunately, today's Republican has become less conservative and more anti-rights and anti-global fellowship, so hopefully this new crop can get things back to sustainable.

[Elizabeth Yorio] sums up the GOP's appeal to young voters this way: "Less government and keeping hands out of the taxpayers' pockets.

"Limited government really resonates with young Republicans," she said.

Whatever you say. If we liberals didn't get this lecture every once in a while, we'd probably socialize footrubs or something.

Meanwhile, the Comet got to chatting with Elizabeth Emery Rincon, newly the state director of the League of Young Voters, and asked her what's news.

"Rauwr", she replied.


"Roo Roo!"

"I don't understand what you're saying."


Oh! Rural! That makes a lot of sense. Obama is monopolizing all the arable land in the city and even in the suburbs for the moment, but when it comes to Pennyslvania's heartland, there may yet be virgin doors awaiting their first knocking.

Not quite as easy as canvassing Highland Park again, and maybe not as gratifying as revolutionizing city politics directly. Yet if things like transit funding and public school funding rely on the state ... shoot, even our city politicos pass the buck off to Harrisburg with regularity. It would be nice to have somebody chasing down those issues over there.


  1. I like Elizabeth Yorio and her honesty. Republicanism is about nothing but paying less taxes, no matter what the downside to society. That's the only unifying thread in the Party.

    Of course, I'm only speaking of national and state politics -- things change at the local level.

  2. jerry: You are incorrect in characterizing the Republican Party as being about "paying less taxes." It is for some people paying less in taxes, and some people paying more.

    For example, there is essentially a Federal education tax, but it's disguised as a local property or sales tax increase, because the Federal government is not providing funding for its mandates. Ditto for Homeland Security guidelines for emergency personnel, police, firemen and medics, the funding for which the government leaves to cash-strapped states and localities (First Responder Formula Grants are chronically underfunded).

    In Pennsylvania as in other states, lower-income people pay a greater percentage of their income in state and local taxes than wealthier people do. The Federal income tax, even after Bush, is still comparatively progressive, but the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy plus the further shifting of the tax burden to the state and local level means that lower-income people see their taxes go up.

    It is important to remember this point: it is simply not true to say that even though the wealthy benefit most from the Bush tax policies, that everyone still gets something. No. Low-income people have actually seen a tax increase -- percentage-wise -- under Bush when you consider state and local taxes.

    This is before you even take into account the non-tax expenses that have hit low- and middle-income people even as the wealthy have benefited: health care costs are a prime example.

  3. Well said, Felix. I stand corrected.