Not Cold Fusion–Not Dry Water–Not Hot Ice

From the official transcript, Tim Kaine on new spending: Kaine made no reference to new spending during the debate. None. Zip. Nada.


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  1. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Thanks, Barnie. I started to get into the transcript last night to look for myself, but got caught up in SCOTUS fever.

    I really do think we ought to compare and contrast the candidate positions and ideas when we have a campaign, not just criticize one guy in a vacuum.

    It looks like we have Kilgore promising specific new spending without new taxes, Potts promising new taxes without any specifics on how he’d spend it, and Kaine promising no new taxes and no new spending.

  2. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Well said, Will.

  3. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Let’s look at the possible implications of my admittedly oversimplified analysis.

    Something beats nothing.

    Kaine’s campaign has not really “caught fire.” Could it be that the base really isn’t fired up about an appeal to the status quo? The Kaine property tax idea probably cost him the passion of more Democrats than it added undecideds or moderate Republicans.

    As for Kilgore, his education initiatives (better pay for teachers, the tax credit for parents) appeal to his base, whatever their feelings on budgetary restraint. It’s easier to propose new spending when there’s a surplus, too.

    It boils down to one’s level of cynicism and trust. While Kaine’s “status quo” appeals to me, I can’t really believe that a wonkish guy like himself wouldn’t want to tinker with new policies that required new spending. I also can’t believe that a guy who is running on the tax raising record of his predecessor wouldn’t raise taxes in a heartbeat if he had a clear chance.

    I like the direction that Kilgore wants to take on education. I see some of it as re-prioritizing, not just new spending. I feel more confident that if money got tight, Kilgore would cut things before he raised taxes.

    For the record, on the items Barnie listed, I like better pay for better teachers and teacher bonuses (You could cut school admin 10% across the board, give it to teachers, and never notice a difference) and I don’t think upping the reimbursement rate for attorneys serving the indigent would bust the bank. Directionally, the tax credit idea is right, but it is too costly and too big a target for abuse by the unscrupulous who would offer “tutoring” and other “approved services.

  4. subpatre Avatar
    subpatre

    … the tax credit idea is right, but it is too costly and too big a target for abuse by the unscrupulous who would offer “tutoring” and other “approved services.”

    The amount might be too much, especially without removing the need for services per child [the economic balance of vouchers; give a $3000 voucher for a reduction in $4000 of school service needed]

    To be fair, the tax credit idea presented is just that; an idea, not a fully fleshed set of code and regulations. There’s plenty of room –and time– for tuning it and putting in protection from abuse.

    The real issue is that Kaine suggests the educational status quo is fine, an appeal to the teachers’ union and administrators. Kilgore suggests that there’s more that can be done, or done better.

    Of financial note is Mr. Day’s critcism and yours about the enormous cost of a tax credit. A recent article in Virginia Town and City magazine, reprinted and distributed by VML, suggests $800 million minimum additional state funding is due to education.

  5. Waldo Jaquith Avatar
    Waldo Jaquith

    I like better pay for better teachers and teacher bonuses (You could cut school admin 10% across the board, give it to teachers, and never notice a difference)

    If, by “you,” you mean “local government,” yes. 🙂 There’s not a whole lot for state government to do, though, other than fund their obligations to localities, so that they don’t need to cut education spending to fund things normally funded using state money.

  6. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Good points, subpatre. I think you reinforced my point about “something beats nothing” with more specifics.

    We really should focus more on campaign ideas as just that–ideas. Candidates ought to get credit for being creative and we ought to spend more time evaluating a candidates flexibility and capacity to compromise and adjust in order to achieve a different/better direction. I’m as guilty as the next guy of not always seeing an idea as the equivalent of an ante in a poker game. You start somewhere with something.

  7. Bob Griendling Avatar
    Bob Griendling

    “It boils down to one’s level of cynicism and trust. While Kaine’s “status quo” appeals to me, I can’t really believe that a wonkish guy like himself wouldn’t want to tinker with new policies that required new spending. I also can’t believe that a guy who is running on the tax raising record of his predecessor wouldn’t raise taxes in a heartbeat if he had a clear chance.”

    Will, for a guy who often claims that ideas and programs should play a greater part of political campaigns, you seem to be saying that no matter what Kaine offers, you won’t vote for him. So why should he offer ideas?

    Moreover, why do you think that Democrats are always looking for an opportunity to raise taxes? Bush I raised taxes, Reagan raised taxes, and I’ll bet neither one woke up one morning and said, “How can I raise taxes today?”

    There is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that Dems want to raise taxes for the hell of raising them.

  8. Will Vehrs Avatar
    Will Vehrs

    Well, Bob, how likely are you to vote for Jerry Kilgore or even give any of his ideas a fair hearing? I sure hope Kaine isn’t withholding his ideas because I’m not likely to vote for him. I guarantee that I give Kaine more credit than you will ever give Kilgore.

    The whole point here is that Kaine doesn’t seem to have many ideas, either to improve the status quo or to suggest new programs, at least from what he offered at the Greenbrier. What he did say repeatedly was how much he supported the last tax increase and how it did a lot for Virginia. I can’t help but infer that if that tax increase was good, why not another? He sure isn’t saying, Clinton-like, that “maybe we raised taxes too much.”

    I don’t think my stereotype of Democrats wanting to raise taxes is appreciably different from stereotypes of Republicans that you utilize.

    I happen to respect Kaine a lot and believe he does have a lot of ideas. Where are they? For some reason, he’s decided to run just as the anti-Kilgore, hoping to benefit from Potts’ concurrent attacks.

  9. Bob Griendling Avatar
    Bob Griendling

    You’ve confirmed my point: “What [Kaine] did say repeatedly was how much he supported the last tax increase and how it did a lot for Virginia. I can’t help but infer that if that tax increase was good, why not another?”

    That’s like saying brain surgery saved my life. How about another?

    Come on, Will. You are as wedded to Republican ideology as you accuse me of being vis-a-vis Democrats’.

    Are more tax increases necessary? Yes, IMHO, they probably are if we are to tackle transportation problems. If you can tell me how we can address what many (including Republican Senator Bill Mims) say is $15 billion in needed projects over the next five years, given the current (and impossible to change in the near term) “human settlement patterns,” I’d love to hear it.

    And before you complain that we have a surplus, just remember Gilmore spent like a drunken sailor and cut taxes because he thought the surpluses would go on forever. And our current surplus will probably be eaten up by escalating health care expenses; so where’s the $15 billion going to come from?

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