I was fairly pleased with the local election results. I’d been quite concerned about an income tax that was on the ballot. Only singles making for than 200K and couples making more than 400K would get taxed, but the electorate wisely believed that this was just the state getting its foot in the door. In fact the group most opposed to the tax was households making 60 to 100K. This makes complete sense. People making less than that know they’ll likely never have to pay significant taxes. People making a lot more, such as those taxed by this first salvo, can well afford to pay income taxes. It’s people in the middle group – the largest group – who know they’ll get taxed and who will really feel the tax. It really annoys me that Bill Gates Sr. sponsored this bill. He’s an enormously rich man who will never feel the tax because he has very little income. He should propose a 50% estate tax on those with estates larger than 1 billion or something like that.
Washingtonians also voted to pass a bill requiring a 2/3 majority for the legislature to raise taxes. Initiatives in this state can be overturned by a majority legislature vote after 2 years. This particular bill has pass at least 3 times in past, and then immediately overturned by the tax-hungry legislature after 2 years. Then, the people pass another initiative.
In addition, people pass an initiative that overturned a tax on candy and bottled water. I actually was opposed to that one (and supported keeping the tax), but I’m not sad that it passed. I can understand general objections to a nanny state.
Our Senate race is up in the air. Patty Murray is apparently an earmark queen, according to the Seattle Times. She’s head of the Appropriations Committee, and either leads congress in earmarks, or is very close. I’m generally opposed to this sort of thing, but I feel compelled to vote Democrat at the national level, so I had to vote for her. In her favor, she did vote against the Iraq war, which took real guts.
I’m surprised at the national election results. I can think of two types of people who might have chosen to vote Republican now – or not vote – who voted Democrat two years ago.
1.) Hard-core Dems who are disappointed in Obama
2.) Independents who feel Obama went to far
I feel Obama’s performance in office was entirely predictable, so (1) is silly. What did they think was going to happen? He was going to ride in on his white horse and make the country exactly the way they liked? Congress will not hop to his bidding just because he snaps his fingers. (2) is more understandable, I guess. Perhaps some feel he’s done enough and it’s time to embrace the status quo.
I voted Democrat 2 years ago, and I feel I got just about exactly what I expected. In fact, I was surprised and impressed he managed to pass the health care bill. Our political system is not build for “change.” In general, this is a good thing. It means Obama can’t pass everything he wants, but neither could George Bush. It saves us from extremes and instability.