By Tim Leeds
My mind is awhirl with the possibilities.
Let me rephrase that. I have seen and heard so much in the last few months, in so many areas, that I don't have a clue what to write about.
On a bright note, I am really impressed with what people are doing to try to improve the community. Whether you agree with them or not, they are trying to make Havre a better place to live, and I think they deserve a pat on the back for that.
The Havre Area Chamber of Commerce is working to improve the downtown, bring new and improved Christmas decorations, bring in tournaments and events, provide information to promote the community to businesses and people thinking about moving here, and more.
Local government, on the school, city and county level, are not only trying to maintain services on less and less available funding without drastically increasing local taxes, they are innovating programs and somehow finding funds to add new programs and services.
The way the local and state economies and tax situations are sitting, these are really difficult times for governments, businesses and organizations. I think the groups in the area are doing an incredible job, making an incredible effort, to maintain and improve the community.
On the down side, I am so tired of politics right now I don't even know what to say. You would think people running for political office would want to tell the voters why they should vote for them, not just say "don't vote for my opponent because "
This is an attack on the person instead of an attack on the argument. In other words, if a candidate says "this is true and we should do this," and his opponent says "he is just a liar," that doesn't attack the argument. As far as the voter knows, what the first candidate said is still true and what he said should be done.
It would certainly help the voters decide what the truth is, and who is telling the truth and who is lying, if the candidates would just ask direct questions and answer them directly. Couching answers, and questions, in insults and claims of lying just clouds the issues. Especially if the claim of lying, about a specific issue, is a lie.
I'm not saying we should vote for people who lie and cheat and steal. I'm just saying if the candidates would answer the questions and point out the truth, it would probably be obvious who is lying.
Oftentimes the issues candidates are talking about are too complex to give a nice 90-second "sound bite" about. The presidential candidates are presenting contradictory information about the national budget and about the effects their own plans will have. The same is true on the state level.
Of course, the national budget comes out in a huge volume, pages and pages of information. Maybe it's a little too complex to discuss in two minutes during a debate. It's insulting to the voters to assume you can gloss it over in a nice, tight little two-minute package.
At the same time, it does seem like there are some things that could be presented better. Estimates can be made about the effect of proposed tax cuts or increases and costs of new programs. Those could be presented a little more clearly.
Taxes are sort of a complicated issue. Especially if you listen to candidates. Here is a good rule of thumb to think of while you listen to candidates, though.
If someone is "cutting" taxes without cutting spending equally, either someone else, probably you and me, is going to end up paying more to make up for it, or there's going to be deficit spending. Anytime someone says "I will cut taxes," ask yourself what programs will be cut or who will make up the difference.
On the other side, if someone is proposing new programs, they are either going to have to raise taxes or cut other programs to pay for it.
I think I will like it once the elections are over. This is getting tiresome.