Editorial Page Editor Needs to Get Out More, Meet His Neighbors

James Lawrence, editorial page editor of the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle, is annoyed at a new TV ad campaign that protests plans to raise taxes on beverages. Perhaps his pique comes from the ad’s effectiveness, its punchy “give me a break” message to government officials: Cut your own budgets, and let me make my own spending decisions. We like it.

Lawrence’s critique relies on the what purports to be an argument: See, see, it’s big corporations that are backing the ad, which runs with the nofoodtaxes.com identifier. (The group is actually called Americans Against Food Taxes.) Lawrence blogs his dyspepsia under the headline, “Coalition Heavy on Corporate Interests.”

And the list goes on.

So Lawrence contends this list proves supporters “are not exactly your next door neighbors.”

Funny. I’ve had plenty of next door neighbors just like that, folks who work at places like Minges Bottling Group, Allen Beverages, ALCOA or American Fuji Seal. They’re people who pay their bills and raise families with paychecks from companies that might lose business if beverage prices go up because of taxes. Why, some of them might even hold the opinion that governments should stop looking for ways to raise taxes and instead reduce their spending.

Take a walk around the block, Mr. Lawrence. We bet some of your neighbors might surprise you and agree with the lady in the ad. You know, “Give me a break!”

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