Disappointing ignorance

Francis Chester, did not pay taxesFollowing a massive turnout at the Augusta County government center, it’s easy to see the decline and fall of traditional conservatism in the Shenandoah Valley. The throng that showed up to protest reassessments were protesting the free market, objecting to nonexistent tax increases. [Video and live-blog can be found at the Staunton News-Leader site.]

Farmers —the practitioners of agriculture— have to be able to calculate profits or loss on cost of feed and the conversion of feed to a resulting carcass weight. They have to be able to mix pesticide or fertilizer into a 1000 gallon sprayer and work out spray ratios so that it is “applied at 2 pounds per acre” . . . and calculate the costs of crop loss from under-spray or the double-loss from direct damage and product waste if over-sprayed.

Farming may be about the care and feeding of living things, but every aspect of that care involves math; its cause and effect. Farming is about the economics of raising plants and animals.

So it’s disappointing to see those core values lost; to see massive numbers of people in one of Virginia’s great agricultural counties without any concept of cause and effect, unable to grasp a simple budget, and ignorant about ratios or percentages.

To start with, the group was protesting the assessments! Assessment is the estimation of a property’s value. State law says —since market prices change— that property must be reassessed every four years. State law also says any increase in county tax revenue from reassessment must be negated to within 1% or less. So repeat after me:
Reassessment does not increase tax
Reassessment does not increase tax
Reassessment does not increase tax

For all the rhetoric about how high assessment values had gone —an average +28% over four years— nobody offered a shred of evidence that any private, mortgage, or bank appraisals were (or would be) different than the assessed values. There was a fairy-tale belief that ‘big increases’ were impossible because the housing bubble had burst.

Worse, they had no idea of what was going on in their own lives. For all the protestations about taxes, none knew how much tax they actually paid last year or the previous years before. OK, one the group’s leaders knew his back taxes exactly, because he hadn’t paid them! Why does this sound familiar? Does this qualify him for an Obama appointment?. How can people protest against ‘increased taxes’ when the taxes did not go up? The answer at the Augusta County meeting was to make it up, to claim taxes were ‘getting worse’ or talk about federal income tax. LOL

Most discouraging of all —the point of this article— is that a political movement that previously stood for civic engagement, personal responsibility, and prudent government has been co-opted.

Now we see deliberate ignorance, no respect for the law, asking government to set market prices, demanding action because of how they “feel”. This used to be a hallmark of the radical left, the actions of socialism. It still is.

3 Responses to “Disappointing ignorance”

  1. MB Says:

    Now we see deliberate ignorance, no respect for the law, asking government to set market prices, demanding action because of how they “feel”. This used to be a hallmark of the radical left, the actions of socialism. It still is.

    No, I’m pretty sure that just summed up 8 years of Bush, and the core (actual, not advertising) conservative movement that lead to it. Reap what you sow. So to speak.

  2. Jackie Says:

    wow….well said…it’s like lemmings into the sea, blind adherence to ‘the cause’…..and ignorance abounds. Why waste time on logic and facts when innuendo and outraged statements are easier to make and also have a built in multiplying factor….Pesky truth and logic have natural parameters.

  3. Jim Patrick Says:

    MB - socialism and other distributionist policies are marked by government ’setting’ of prices; it’s a characteristic of them. Charles Murray made a decent talk about European social democracy that sums up the “feeling” versus “logic” in politics and culture; predating Pres. Bush by decades.

    If you have substance to Bush deliberately ignoring how the law works or deliberately defying laws, please cite. But name-calling is juvenile —and that’s what your comment appears to be— and BDS is so 2008.