News and Tribune


August 28, 2012

LETTERS: Aug. 29, 2012

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Lower taxes can be a silent killer

  This is an open letter to the women and mothers of Indiana, to small government zealots and to the alleged pro-lifers who are more vocal about the “rights” of a blastocyst than about the rights of a living toddler.

Three-year-old Carmen Ellis of Indianapolis is the latest child victim to suffer and die at the hands of her mother’s boyfriend. The mother must also bear the responsibility for not keeping her child safe, and we have yet to learn how and why Child Protective Services failed Carmen, even after a relative intervened and reported the abuse.

But I know this. When state budgets are cut to the bone, due to decreased federal funding and less tax revenue overall, the first things to go are funds for social services that help the most vulnerable. That means fewer social workers and bigger caseloads. How can we complain about taxes, and vote against funding for family planning for poor women, when federal tax rates are the lowest in 60 years?

Never in our history have we cut taxes while at war. How do we justify electing people who vow to outlaw abortion while promising cuts to food stamps, Head Start, housing and other programs that are crucial for the children they insist be born? So the rich can get even more tax cuts? Really? How about using some of those funds to teach new parents the developmental stages of a child, and coping strategies to use when they feel overwhelmed?

Ask yourself, do you really want to reduce government to nothing but prisons, military and police, like say, Somalia? Do you care if the children and families already clinging to the margins fall deeper into destitution? Can you build a big enough fence around your gated community to insulate yourself from their misery? Or do you want to live in an actual society, which confers responsibility on its members to look out for one another? Because at some crisis point, you could be one of those “others.” Community versus every body on her own.

That’s what your taxes help you buy, along with food inspections, airplane safety, an interstate highway system and a safety net, hopefully, for the next Carmen. As Oliver Wendell Holmes reportedly said: “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”

— Ruthanne Wolfe, New Albany

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