For the first time since the property tax elimination debate has taken root in Pennsylvania, we have a candidate for Governor who has been out on the campaign trail championing school property tax elimination. It is a centerpiece of his pledge to Pennsylvania and everywhere he goes we hear the same promise. If Scott Wagner is elected as Governor of Pennsylvania, he will eliminate our property taxes.
Recently, Scott has taken some heat because he responded to a socialist plant during a debate in a short and curt manner. He called her young and naive. This fueled a socialist led media fury that attempted to make far more out of this than it really was.
I always find the realm of political rhetoric interesting. By this I mean the political rhetoric that goes beyond a candidate or a politician’s actual statements into a whole different realm. The fact that the press has given this as much attention as it has, reveals much about our press. A young woman was supposedly offended by a response to a planted political question intended to advance an agenda of socialism.
Those pushing the narrative are others who have been involved in organizing some of the more radical elements of the progressive socialist narrative. The woman is allowing herself to be exploited to advance an agenda, a narrative, fueled by socialist extremists who want to tear down the fabric of our Constitution and the rule of law here in Pennsylvania.
The young woman feigns being offended by the way she was treated and the press has a field day with it and the promoters of the socialist dismantling of America are pushing the narrative.
We live in a state where, each year, 10 thousand people face losing their homes because of a tax that has exceeded their ability to keep up. If they can’t meet the tax demands, their home will be seized, sold at a public auction where there is an excellent chance that the home will be sold for far less than the actual worth of the property. The property owners investment in that property can be lost. Any equity they may have acquired while living in that home….gone.
The property tax works in a way that a layer of taxation is applied that adds to the cost of everything we purchase and every service we use. The property tax becomes part of the operating expense for a business and in order to continue to provide the goods and services we need and use, they must pass the cost of the property tax on to the consumer.
For those already struggling to meet their tax obligation, insult is added to injury, because now the other things they need to survive; things like food, clothing, medications, legal services….it all costs more because of the cost of maintaining a property tax. It’s called the Cascade Effect of taxation and I cover this in more detail elsewhere in this blog.
For the renters, they may complain about the increasing costs of their rent every time the landlord is forced, because of property taxation, to raise the rent. When the rent exceeds the affordability of the tenant, they too are forced to find somewhere else to live. As the property tax drives up the rent beyond these tenant’s ability to pay, the tenant must now incur the expense of moving and the disruption of their family’s life.
Now I’m saying all of this to make this simple point. The press has a field day because they’ve spun a news story about a socialist plant at a Scott Wagner political event to decry that she was offended. While nothing was physically taken from this woman in the process, each year many families are crushed by the burden of an unreasonable and unfair burden of property taxation.
They will be forced out of their homes and their rented properties while the property tax continues to make the cost of just living more expensive for more people. And yet, where is the same outrage from the press? Where is the outcry of these socialist social justice warriors when it comes to the process of this theft by taxation that is known as the property tax?
Shouldn’t we all be more offended by the actual physical seizing of personal and private property than we are offended by a mere statement made during a political campaign?
Back in 2015 Governor Wolf was on one his many support our schools, taxpayer funded tours. The press was there making sure he got all the coverage he needed and they did their best to paint these tours in a positive light. Even when the Governor said something that should have offended all of us, the press just dismissed it. They did provide the quote but never contextualized it. The Governor said, according to The Pocono Record, May 27, 2015:
“There is a need to understand the investment that is education. There is a choice of supporting education, but it comes with the cost of taxes and the possibility of losing a home for some.”
Again, where was the outrage in the press and the public concerning a statement by a governor who accepts that losing a home is a part of education funding the way it is accomplished through property taxes
The home owners who loses their homes; the tenants who have to vacate their rented property; that is not a choice. That is a forced action generated by a government that backs a system of taxation that disrupts the lives of families across the Commonwealth. The choice referred to by the governor is a choice to continue to support property taxation by the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government…not a choice by, for or of the people. It is a choice government continues to make in spite of the cries from the public to do away with such a tax.
Even more offensive, at least to me, is the fact that the Governor admits knowing that people are losing their homes and in three years, since that statement, he’s done nothing….absolutely nothing…to support alternative education funding methods that would eliminate the unfair and regressive property tax.
Today, in this realm of political polarization, hardly a day passes where I’m not personally offended by the comments of somebody in the political spectrum; From journalists more interested in promoting opinion rather than actual news to politicians who say things that really get under my skin.
That’s not news. Yet when this woman claimed to be hurt by Scott Wagner’s response, that became news. In the stories I’ve read, they didn’t even focus on the debate of the context of her question or to report the fact that there are noted scientists in the field who would refute her claims. That was irrelevant. The only relevance was that her feelings were hurt.
None of the stories reported her connection to extreme socialism or that she was a plant meant to disrupt the Wagner campaign event. None of the stories connected her to radical movements like Antifa where fascist tactics are used while claiming to be anti-fascist. There was one singular motive and that was to use this event and this person through the press and social media to paint this girl as a victim.
That’s crap. She wasn’t a victim. Her feelings, she says, were hurt…Welcome to the real world where feelings getting hurt are a real part of life. Something that shouldn’t be a part of life is taxation by theft that steals our homes out from underneath us to support of broken and unsustainable system of taxation that, by its design, inflicts the most damage to those least able to sustain that damage.
The disregard for the plight of those most vulnerable to being exploited by this broken and regressive system of taxation should have us all outraged But I have to ask, why don’t more of us feel that the theft by taxation that is the property tax is an offensive front to humanity where the most vulnerable can be physically victimized by a system of taxation that steals their property? Why do so many continue to defend the indefensible in the theft of one of the most fundamental necessities of life: a shelter that we can call our own?
Governor Wolf has had 4 years to do something about the property tax and he made a choice. That choice was to do nothing. That choice included accepting that the way we fund education requires the theft of the property of some of our citizens. By doing nothing the Governor has demonstrated that the issue isn’t important enough to be on his radar.
Now, to be fair to the Governor, I did spend some time in meetings with him on the issue. He admitted to the problem and even went so far as to declare that if SB76, a plan to eliminate the property tax by replacing it with a far more equitable system of education funding, made it to his desk, he would sign it into law. Then his Lt. Governor cast the deciding vote that killed the bill in the Senate in 2015.
The bill was re-introduced but the Governor has remained silent on it. He has not chosen to use his position as Governor and the strength of the bully pulpit that comes with that office to advance the narrative or to drum up support from among his colleagues.
And yet he was quick to jump on the hurt feelings of a socialist plant at a Republican political event. He championed her hurt feelings and expressed his concern for her while saying nothing about the feelings of the thousands of families whose who have been exploited through taxation by having their home ripped out from underneath them to support of system of taxation he’s done nothing to change.
I don’t know about you but when I have to weigh on the importance of the issue of a woman who was supposedly hurt by a comment on the campaign trail, a comment from a person who knew she was going to ask a controversial question and, most likely get a controversial response. I mean what did anyone really expect.
When you make salient points concerning property tax elimination or expose the prejudice of property taxation, they don’t debate the fact or the issue, they resort to the personal attack of pointing out that I have no “formal” education that granted me initials after my name. It’s not that our facts our wrong, it’s that we somehow don’t have a right to defend the facts because we aren’t part of their “educational” hierarchy. It’s almost as though they think that you can’t become informed through work and hard effort on your own unless you’ve been indoctrinated first to be a part of their elite club. Pardon my frankness here but that’s bullshit!
I know, when you go into the controversial realm, like discussing eliminating property taxes, you are going to get criticized. I’ve been called everything from a socialist to a neo-con. It’s a part of the political realm.
When you engage you have to expect that you are going to be attacked, especially in this age of political polarization. If she honestly didn’t expect that, then yes, she is young and naive. I am highly suspect that she didn’t expect the results she got. It’s hard to claim yourself as a victim when your entire purpose was to set yourself up for such a response. When your goal is to raise a controversial question of a candidate who you know is not in alignment to your political view and they respond harshly, you are not a victim. If you then exploit that narrative to paint yourself as the victim, you are, in reality, the exploiter and you are then the bully of the playground, not the victim.
If you are going to engage in the political realm, there are no safe spaces. If you expect otherwise, you are not just naive, you are ridiculously naive. That’s just not how politics work and it doesn’t matter if you like it or not…if you aren’t willing to face political realities head on then you can’t change the process.
When you take a position on an issue that finds others on the opposite side, you have to expect resistance. You have to expect that your position is going to be opposed and that sometimes that opposition will be expressed in ways that you, personally, may not like. Frankly, having watched the “entire” video, not just the extracted version, I don’t find anything overtly offensive in the response by Scott Wagner.
Scott has made it clear that there are issues where he doesn’t have all the immediate answers.
Wow, a politician that admits to his own humanity. Certainly we haven’t reached a point in society where we actually think are governors are gods incapable of having the absolute correct answer to all the problems.
Scott has also made it clear the he will bring on advisers to help him in making the most informed decisions possible in the solution to problems that face our Commonwealth. That’s assuming the correct position that a governor should be in. They are, after all, human just like the rest of us and it is impossible for them to know everything.
There are also limitations related to his position as Governor of Pennsylvania and matters that are beyond his Constitutional limitation. That was Scott’s reply to this woman. He said it in short and curt terms. He said “Look you’re electing a governor, not a scientist” but that demonstrates that Scott recognizes the limitation to his office and that he will remain within those Constitutional limitations, unlike our current governor who has used the courts to subvert our Constitution.
She may not like his response and, to my way of thinking, that’s okay. Then again, I was raised during a generation where an expression reigned in teaching us to deal with hurt feelings. You might remember it as well…
Sticks and Stones can break my bones but names will never harm me.
In other words….SUCK IT UP SUNSHINE…it’s part of the process.
When I weigh what happened with this young woman against the continual support of the theft through the taxation of property, I see no real comparison. The press is worried about name calling but when it comes to the Sticks and Stones of theft by taxation and the victims of such an abuse, there are painfully silent.
When I’m out on the road and I meet with families and individuals who are in the process of having their homes stolen from them, I believe that those are news stories and yet when was the last time you picked up a newspaper and read a similar outcry as we’ve seen with this woman.
There is only one candidate in this race for Governor who actually understands the real victimization that comes with the property tax. There is only one candidate in this race who worked to advance property tax elimination in the past four years and there is only one candidate who promises to eliminate the theft of property through taxation and that candidate is Scott Wagner.
It is a realm that, as Governor, Scott can and will Constitutionally lead, something that has been sorely missing in this debate. It is a realm in which he is very informed. He knows the problems and he understands the solution.
Our current Governor is also informed. I know that from my conversations with him. He recognizes the problems but he has made a choice not to lead on this issue. He has made a choice to spend four years and do nothing to work towards elimination of the school property tax.
The difference between the two is stark. Scott Recognizes our inherent right to property. Tom Wolf does not. Tom Wolf thinks that funding education means that your property actually belongs to government and if you are not in step with their demands, that government has a right, not only to seize you of your property but to deny you just compensation in the seizing of the property in direct violation of one of most fundamental rights in this process of eminent domain.
The difference is as far apart as the Earth is from Pluto. After all, either we have a right to our own property or we become the property of others. The current governor has accepted that we are the property of government, not the other way around. If he didn’t, he’d do something about!