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Mailbag: We must be willing to sacrifice as those before us did

July 20, 2011

As a Baby Boomer, I am ashamed and embarrassed by those in my generation who are so selfishly fueling this no-more-taxes, no-matter-what movement. Our parents, and our grandparents, taxed themselves to build all the schools, libraries and highways that we so take for granted, even though it meant forgoing the vacation to Hawaii (forget the south of France) or the new car (forget the vacation home).

Now it's our turn. Having enjoyed the benefits of the finest state education system in the country (have we forgotten that in California that is exactly what we used to have?), we now are sitting idly by watching while our schools (from K-12 to the UC system) fall apart, our infrastructure deteriorates and our social safety net develops so many holes it can "catch" virtually no one.

And for what? To avoid increasing taxes by even a single penny for those of us who really are best positioned to bear the added burden.

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When thousands of teachers are laid off and losing their entire paychecks, isn't that like imposing a 100% tax on them? When thousands of state and city employees are laid off, isn't that like imposing a 100% tax on them?

When clinics are closed, and health workers laid off so that the poor and homeless no longer have even limited health care available to them, isn't that like imposing a huge tax on them? So who are we kidding when we say that budget cuts are not tax increases?

The only question is, who are we going to stick with that burden? Shouldn't we be looking at imposing the burden on those who benefit the most when our economy is working well? Shouldn't we be looking at imposing the burden on those who are best able to bear it?

As a generation, we Baby Boomers have done well, largely because we stood on the shoulders of our parents and grandparents, who were willing to sacrifice for us. Instead of following their example, we are selfishly insisting that we solve our fiscal problems on the backs of teachers and other government employees and the poor and homeless.

In the go-go days before the financial crisis, were they the ones who earned six- and seven-figure bonuses each year in the economic craziness that ultimately led to the crash? Even now, we boomers as a class are certainly better positioned to bear the additional burden necessary to address our budgetary crises. But no, we'd rather not experience even a penny of additional taxes, even though such selfishness means imposing 100% taxes on teachers and public employees and serious hardships on the poor and homeless.

To make it worse, we try to cloak our miserly ways in high-minded talk about Constitutional values. Well, have we forgotten that the Founders clearly stated that the purposes for which the Union was formed included the "common defense" and the "general welfare"? I guess we have.

Shame on us!

Steven J. Dzida

Costa Mesa

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