Why do people vote against their own best interests?

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:47

    When I read the article by Ruben Estrada about Hispanics being Republicans I felt compelled to respond. Harry Reid knows Republican policies don’t benefit Hispanics or anyone making less than $300,000 for that matter (98% of the people). Republicans are known for a commitment to smaller government, fewer taxes on wealth and business, fewer safety and environmental regulations, fewer rights for workers, more rights for corporations, more privatization, more free trade and more war. How does that platform help anyone but a CEO of a major corporation? We have seen how an unresponsive government resulted in 1,836 dead people after Hurricane Katrina. We experienced a recession in 1982 after Reagan cut taxes to 50 percent (from 70) which tripled our deficit. If more taxes had been collected between 1982 and 2010 from the wealthiest 2 percent of our population there would have been plenty of money to pay for regular inspection and maintenance of our nation’s infrastructure including levees that didn’t need to be breeched. If our Department of Interior had not refused to enforce safety regulations on Massey mines and on BP for years, maybe the 29 miners wouldn’t have lost their lives; maybe the 11 people who died on the oil rig would still be alive. Fewer taxes on the rich and less safety regulations have been bad policy. It makes us weak. In 1945, billionaires were being taxed at 94 percent. That meant if a person made $1 billion, he gave the government $940 million and kept $60 million for himself (more than enough to live on). When really rich people pay their taxes it gives our federal government enough money to fund the greatest military on earth, support the frailest members of our society, educate our children and respond to natural disasters with timely assistance. Our states would not have to implement austerity budgets, firing policemen, firemen and teachers if the billionaires were paying even 35 percent instead of only 15 percent capital gains and hiding money in Swiss banks and off shore accounts. How does Halliburton get away with moving its headquarters to Dubai so it doesn’t have to pay taxes on all of the profits it is making on government contracts? Republican patriots like former vice president and Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney should insist on paying more taxes. It’s the patriotic thing to do. Should Hispanics and anyone making less than $300,000 a year vote for the Republican platform of continuing the Bush tax cuts for the super rich, privatizing social security (Wall Street stealing grandma’s pension), fewer safety regulations and the continuation of two endless wars of occupation? Follow the money. Who benefits? Not me and not you (unless you are one of the 2 percent super rich). Dawn Hoagland Highland Mills