Bless you, Portland, Oregon. Just when I am starting to grow thoroughly sick of the national press and its fawning over your smug, self-righteous obsession with veganism and 1980s nostalgia, you surprise me. You actually throw me a curve-ball. And fortunately, the nation's press is paying our city and state some attention for the RIGHT reasons, for a change*. We raised taxes, moderately, on the very rich, and corporations! Here's Bloomberg:
“It’s a go-after-the-rich strategy,” said John Matsusaka, president of the Initiative and Referendum Institute at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “It shows that some voters have switched their minds and they’re more likely to go after the rich.”
“How do you protect the middle class?” said Kevin Looper, who ran the campaign to pass the measures. “The only way you can afford to do that is to tax those who can afford to pay.”
The twin ballot measures also served as a gauge of anti-business populism and highlighted a nationwide debate over whether to fix state budgets by targeting the affluent. But they also fueled resentment of "tax and spend" legislators, as well as public-employee unions whose members enjoy job security at a time when thousands here have lost jobs.
"The biggest issue is we were substantially outspent by the public employee unions. They were able to double, and more than that, the money we were spending on the broadcast media, and were able to get that much more of their message out," said Pat McCormick, spokesman for Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes.
The second observation is that I think this vote has nothing to do with Left or Right. It has to do with money and anger. With double-digit unemployment, eight-digit Wall Street bonuses and thirteen-digit federal deficits, Americans are feeling inundated with a lot of numbers that tell a simple story: America's workers have no money, America's coffers have no money, but America's rich people have a lot of money.
*Astute readers will know that I like nothing more than to relax in a pair of locally sourced alfalfa booties, while wearing a Van Halen headband and eating eggplant casserole. Still, even I grow somewhat weary of myself sometimes, innit.
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