Candidate Mary Lou Serafine answers questions from an Austin journalist, Greg Gosdin.
1. If the majority of the District 14 population is liberal, how will they be better served by electing you instead of Kirk Watson?
Serafine: There is a new wave in Austin that recognizes the danger of authoritarian politicians taking money from the people and spending it on bad projects. I am the new wave. Kirk Watson is the old-style, sitting on a throne, telling other people how to live and taking their money through high taxes, high fees, and high energy costs, then wasting the money on projects he happens to choose. The private sector—-private businesses and charities—-would do a better job of spending money for good purposes than politicians such as Kirk Watson.
2. Why is it a good thing to keep as much as possible of the money one earns? Leftists say that’s just greedy.
Serafine: It is liberal politicians, not the people, who are greedy. Politicians are making taxes, fees, and energy costs go up faster than inflation. They have never gone down. This hurts the poor even more than the rich, because the poor are burdened with the resulting high rent, high prices, and lost jobs that these liberal policies create. The liberal solution is then to rob the poor of their dignity as well by making them dependent on hand-outs.
Liberals may think they are helping the poor, but by stifling the economy and growing the government, they are burdening the poor more than the rich. The only winners in their game are the politicians and government employees. I am certain that the way to help low and middle income people achieve their dreams is to reduce government and taxes and to restore an open market.
Let me expand: When you reduce government and lower taxes, the money does not disappear. It goes back to the people. People use it to buy things and create businesses. Both of these create jobs. People also give to charities, which are much more effective than government-controlled programs in helping those in need. That is why I favor letting people keep control of their money as much as possible. Of course, government needs to operate and to provide necessary services. And there should be a safety net for people who genuinely cannot take care of themselves.
3. Name a current example of wealth redistribution in District 14 and describe how it is harmful to the district’s citizens.
Serafine: Here are three examples of so-called wealth-redistribution that are harmful in general, but especially to low-income people:
•High property taxes lead to high rents, high sales taxes lead to high prices (especially on gasoline), and high business taxes lead to lost jobs, then the tax money is wasted on failing schools that hurt the kids.
•High fees and high taxes are imposed on all citizens and drivers, then the money is used to buy new trucks for Big Business and wasted on trains to nowhere, while the roads are jammed and unrepaired.
•High property and business taxes crush small businesses and kill jobs, then the money is given away to other businesses as a hand-out.
4. Describe a specific area in which you would counter the wealth-redistribution agenda of local leftists, and how the people will be better off utilizing your ideas.
Serafine: When leftists fight for “wealth redistribution” they are not fighting for money to go from rich to poor. They are fighting for money to go from the people to the politicians. Then the politicians spend it as they see fit, take their cut (government employees now earn higher salaries, with better retirement, than employees in real businesses), and perhaps “redistribute” a little of it back to the poor in the form of food stamps or subsidies, which keep people dependent. Or perhaps they make a promise of something better someday.
Kirk Watson is a prime example of a leftist politician. That is why I am running.
My policy is low taxes, less government, and sensible regulation. That will create an economy that favors upward mobility.
5. How will your ideas strengthen education in District 14?
Serafine: The same principles apply to education as apply to any other service. Parents should be able to buy the educational services that best fit their child, and to choose from diverse options. Children belong to their parents, not to the politicians. Right now, the politicians have a monopoly on the available options because they, not parents, control where the money goes and what it buys. I want to put parents in control of their own child’s school funds—-the funds we raise for education through taxes. Each child should get his or her fair share of tax dollars, and the money should follow the child, year after year. Of course, some parents already have the extra time and money to buy after-school activities for their child, or even a private school. But for most parents, their money goes to taxes, while any choice is denied.
I want the tax dollars to stay with the parents, but be distributed fairly to each and every child, so that each has an equal opportunity. I want our education taxes to be used for a scholarship for every single child to attend the school of their choice. Think of it as a credit card or gift card—-to be used for education only. Each child should have one, worth his or her fair share of the tax dollars. Then the parents can spend it as they wish. the result will be that new and diverse schools will be created, because there will be a base of parents who will have the money to purchase the education that their children need.
Setting this up is not difficult. It has been done in some cities. We often talk about the need for a good education for all. This would implement it. Liberals wrongly complain that this system would “siphon the money from the public schools.” Not at all. What we have now is public schools siphoning the money from the parents. And not giving parents a choice. Besides, with my plan, the children who wanted the public school could still use their scholarship to go there.
6. How will your ideas better serve the less fortunate in the district?
Serafine: Let me emphasize that “taxes on the rich” are always paid by low and middle income people, because all taxes are redistributed to all segments in the form of lost jobs, high prices, high rent, and bad schools.
When politicians who favor big government and high taxes are put in charge, they create a class of less fortunate people whose livelihoods, neighborhoods, and way of life are crushed by the bad policies that are implemented with their money.
A good example is transportation. There are high taxes on cars and gasoline, raising the cost to where they are out of the reach of many low income people. Then the money is wasted on a dysfunctional bus and train system. The people would be better off with affordable cars and cheap gasoline. On average, across the U.S. gasoline tax exceeds 40 cents per gallon.
Poverty, inequality, ignorance, and disengagement are caused by—-not remedied by—-the bad economic, social, and educational policies of big-government politicians, primarily Democrats and sometimes Republicans. The way to help the less fortunate is through less government, not more, and lower, not higher taxes and government borrowing.
I promote the conservative vision, which has two pillars—-freedom and dignity. Freedom means having control and choice. Dignity means being trusted to make the right choices. The role of government is to promote these two things—-freedom and dignity. Good government does this through protection of property rights, having a free market, ensuring justice, and enforcing the law and sensible regulation. This is a lot of work, and government should stay focussed on those goals, leaving the rest to the private sector.
By the way—These are not new ideas. These are the principles on which our nation was founded, and that guided it until the 1940’s.