The scathing report on Tom Corbett provided by Penn Dems is biased to say the least. I would like to set the record straight on Tom Corbett.
I preface this letter with a disclaimer: I support Tom Corbett, and I’ll be voting for him on Election Day.
Now that we have that settled, I would like to take a more balanced look at Corbett’s performance. Perfect? Of course not. But I would claim: pretty good.
Most of the arguments provided by Penn Dems were lifted from Democratic campaign ads. Statements like: “Corbett slashed $1 billion from public education,” and “Pennsylvania is the only state … that doesn’t charge a penny to companies that extract natural gas” are prepackaged sound bites from Tom Wolfe advertisements. Thanks for taking the easy route, Penn Dems.
But what I find appalling is that these statements are purposely misleading.
Take the first claim: Corbett cut education. Actually, Corbett increased the state’s share of education funding by almost $1.5 billion. The federal government cut back its funding, and Corbett has done a lot to make up for the reduction. In more familiar terms, blaming Corbett for decreases in education funding is a bit like blaming your parents when your financial aid package decreases. Sure, if your financial aid package is cut by 10 grand, that might be really tough for you. But should you blame your parents for the increase? Even if they contributed an extra 5 grand this year to make up for the reduction?
Even if you think that Corbett should have done more for education, claiming that he “slashed” funding is misleading and insulting to readers.
The second major argument made by Penn Dems is that, under Corbett, natural gas companies have not been charged an extraction tax.
Democrats are complaining because Corbett kept taxes low? (Okay, I suppose Economics 001 probably didn’t go so well for Penn Dems.) To be clear, conservatives believe that keeping taxes low will make businesses produce more-or-less in economic equilibrium. You may not agree with this perspective, but it’s a viewpoint grounded in basic economics.
Corbett’s plan is to build up the energy industry in Pennsylvania, bringing more jobs to PA. That’s more jobs and more companies operating in Pennsylvania, and consequently, more tax revenue. Gas companies support over 200,000 Pennsylvanian jobs, bringing in an additional $2.1 billion in corporate taxes. Are we charging for extraction? No. Could we be? Maybe. But we’re still getting money from the growth and expansion of energy companies.
Finally, Penn Dems target Corbett’s stance on gay rights and abortion. I’m not a fan of Corbett’s social policy beliefs. I fully support gay marriage, and I’m ambivalent on abortion issues.
But Penn Dems use cheap rhetorical tricks to make you think Corbett’s perspective is right-wing conservatism at its worst. For instance, Penn Dems state that Corbett wants to defund Planned Parenthood and emphasize all the good that Planned Parenthood does for women.
True, Planned Parenthood does a lot of good. But you and I both know that Corbett doesn’t want to defund Planned Parenthood because he’s a misogynist. Corbett believes that life begins at conception, and he does not want to support an organization that kills -- what he believes are – living beings.
This is neither the time nor place to discuss abortion. But vilifying Corbett’s views as Penn Dems did is a bit like claiming that one religion is more “right” than all the others. Valuing the life of unborn children does not mean that Corbett hates women.
What’s most disappointing about the Penn Dems’ column is that they fail to mention any of Corbett’s successes. There’s no hint of a counterargument in their entire column. They don’t mention that Corbett cut the Pennsylvania state deficit by over $4 billion, that Pennsylvania recently experienced its lowest unemployment rate since 2008, that the state income tax has not increased over his entire tenure and that he reduced the state government to its smallest size in 50 years.
I can’t tell you who to vote for. I don’t know your belief system, and I can’t say with certainty which candidate will do the better job. But what I can tell you is this: don’t listen to Penn Dems. Their column lacked balance.
Theodore L. Caputi is a sophomore in Wharton and the College. He is a Republican. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Comments powered by Disqus
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.