Commentary

Question 2 Sets Dangerous Precedent

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At this point in the election cycle we all understand fully the union special interests behind Question 2. A ballot initiative that poses to be about improving the quality of education, Question 2 is nothing more than a radical tax scheme with potentially devastating effects on our state economy.

While the misleading premise of Question 2 is bad, when we take a closer look there is something far more repulsive lurking behind the shadows of union big wigs and out of state cash. Should it pass, Question 2 will be setting a precedent regarding our very form of government and the long ranging repercussions are chilling.

There’s a famous story from the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 where when asked about what kind of government had been created, Benjamin Franklin replied, “a republic, if you can keep it.” Being a republic, the power of our government rests in the people and their elected representatives. More than this, the members of a republic are protected by the rule of law. In this system the rights of minorities are protected from a potentially tyrannical mob majority. This is, specifically, why a democracy was not chosen as our form of government.

In a democracy, law is made and upheld by a simple majority. The rights of anyone else be damned. As the saying goes, a democracy is “two wolves and a sheep voting on what’s for dinner.”

Make no mistake about it, if Question 2 passes, the wolves will have dinner. The middle class and small businesses will be on the menu.

If enough votes are garnered, Question 2 will impose a three percent additional tax on families and business owners making $200,000. In other words, if a majority of Mainers vote for it, the State will confiscate additional earned properties from your friends, neighbors, or perhaps your employer. That money will leave your local economy and be added to the State’s General Fund for politicians in Augusta to decide its fate.

A Russian word for majority is “bol’shinstvo.” You might recognize the word in its better known derivative: Bolshevik. The Bolsheviks, founded by Vladimir Lenin and a subgroup of the Marxist party, got their name after winning on a majority of issues in the Second Party Congress held in Brussels and London in 1903. When they came to power in Russia after the Russian Revolution, their idea of majority also had a program of confiscation of wealth and targeting those deemed “rich.”

Unlike the Russian Marxists, Americans, and particularly Mainers, have always believed in and valued integrity, hard work and the ability to strive for a better life for our families while rooting for our neighbors to do the same.

When families and small business owners make it to the middle class, which is what a family making $200,000 is, we know that all do better. Not only do families in this income level pay more in state and federal income taxes based on their income, but they also tend to acquire higher valued properties which means they are contributing more in property taxes that municipalities use to pay for schools and services.

The proponents of Question 2 seek to penalize the success of their fellow Mainers under the false pretense that they are not paying their “fair share.”

So what happens if Question 2 passes? The precedent will be set that as long as enough votes can be garnered, any class of Mainers can be singled out and stripped of their property. Today the target is Mainers making over $200,000. Who will be the next target? Those making $50,000 – $100,000? Those who own real property? Once the door is opened for mob rule, it will be difficult to close it.

The rule of referendum is not the rule of law. No other ballot question fundamentally challenges our republican form of government like Question 2. Understanding this, the new Bolsheviks are already salivating over a new petition drive to fund Medicaid expansion.

Wealth confiscation subject to mob rule has a well documented history. Question 2 should serve as a warning to those who understand its results.

About Nick Isgro

Nick Isgro is the Mayor of Waterville, Maine. Nick is a native of Waterville where he resides with his wife and five children.

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