Political predictions coming true

Just because I have accurately predicted certain political events, does not make be prescient. You may recall for instance, that I stated that Sens. Kate Brown (D-Portland) and Ben Westlund (I-Bend) would not have the political courage to submit their gay marriage proposal to voters (Sept. 11, 2005), or that former governor, John Kitzhaber, despite his political posturing, wouldn’t run in the 2006 Democrat gubernatorial primary (Jan. 1, 2006) or that the Portland City Commission would fail, after significant expenditure of public funds, in its attempt to acquire Portland General Electric (July 31, 2005). It’s not about being prescient, it’s about being predictable.

There are just some things in Oregon liberal politics that are absolutely predictable and recur with such startling regularity that you would think that Oregon’s liberals would be embarrassed to start down that track once again. And yet, with the submission of a variety of initiative petitions to the Secretary of State last week for qualification, you can already see Oregon’s liberal elite and their unofficial spokesmen, The Oregonian, The Statesman Journal, and The Register Guard dashing to the ramparts with the predictable pronouncements.

And what are these citizen initiatives that cause Oregon’s liberals to go into hyperdrive? Well, the big three are spending limits, tax reductions and parental notification. Governor Kulongoski, Oregon’s official spokesman for all things liberal, has already announced that he will personally campaign against these measures.

The first two, spending limits and raising the personal deduction for income taxes to match the federal rate, will have a direct impact on the ability of liberals and the public employee unions to spend your money to promote their causes. And for that sin you can safely bet that there will be a consistent chorus of impending doom if either, let alone both, are adopted. Here is what you can expect them to claim:

· Schools will be forced to close.
· Senior citizens will be dying in the streets.
· The poor will go hungry.
· Crime rates will rise because prisons will close and law enforcement officers will be furloughed.

How do we know that they are going to say these things? Because they have stood before the cameras and soberly predicted the same thing every time there is a fiscal issue pending. They did it when Gov. Barbara Roberts tried to pass a sales tax, they did it when Measure 5 limiting property taxes was considered, they did it when Measure 28 raising taxes was proposed in 2003 and again thirteen months later when Measure 30 increasing taxes was proposed.

The problem is that none of it is true. Schools were not required to close, there were not massive teacher layoffs, only those schools foolish enough to continue spending a prolific levels were forced to shorten their school years and classroom sizes (student/teacher ratios) still remain better than national average. Senior citizens did not die in the streets. The poor were not turned away. Jails did not close and there were not massive layoffs of law enforcement officers. It didn’t happen the first time they predicted it, nor the second, nor the third and it is not likely to happen in the future.

The reason that it is not likely to happen in the future is because, today, Oregon is awash in excess tax revenues. It appears that the 2007 legislative session will begin with approximately $1.2B more in revenues for the next biennium than for the current one – that is an increase of approximately 10%. And that is after it refunds approximately $880M to taxpayers for the “kicker.” The point here is to make an intelligent choice. Just don’t listen to those who predict the end of civilization as we know it because they have been wrong every time.

The third issue, requiring parental notification before an abortion can be performed on a minor, will bring out the predictable screams from NARAL and the crowd that advocates abortion on demand, any time, any where, for any reason, and preferably at taxpayer expense. And you can count on hearing their tiresome litany:

· Adoption of any limitation will result in the eradication of Roe v. Wade.
· Teenagers will be forced to resort to back alley abortions
· Death rates for teens will increase
· Teens will be victimized by incestuous parents
· And on and on and on.

Look, abortion is a surgical procedure. It is the only surgical procedure that can be performed on a minor without parental involvement in the state of Oregon. For all other surgical procedures, minors have been determined to lack the requisite ability to consent and thus require adults, usually their parents, to provide that consent. Pregnancy does not imbue minors with sudden maturity – certainly the level of maturity necessary for consent. If a minor cannot consent to other surgical procedures without parental notification and consent, they certainly should not be able to consent to an abortion without that same notification and consent. While liberals may not be able to draw a line between abortion rights for minors and abortion rights for adults, most people of common sense can.