A taxing worry

Today I listened for a short while on my truck radio to shows of both Rush Limberger and Glen Beck. As always, I couldn’t listen for very long because my boiling blood might set off a spontaneous combustion inside me and that wouldn’t be very pleasant. Nor would it be very spontaneous, come to think about it.

What common theme that was heard coming from the hot air of this pair was not the expected Hillary-bashing although I am sure Hillary’s name was used in some point in the show. The Right-Wing Talk Radio Federation would promptly oust these two if they didn’t invoke the name of a Clinton at least one time in their shows. No, the commonality I heard today came in the form of “taxes,” you heard me right “taxes.”

Lowering taxes, or perhaps even eliminating taxes, is a long-time obsession with Republicans. If you listen to any State of the Union address by a Republican president the loudest cheers and applause comes from Republican congressional members when the nation’s CEO says those magical words “lower taxes.”

Now I have to admit, I don’t like taxes either. However, I don’t spend my time getting all worked up about higher taxes. Even someone like me who makes a relatively shallow income still has to pay them. But the government of the people and supposedly for the people says we have to pay up or go straight to jail, do not pass Go … It’s Uncle Sammy’s version of Monopoly. So we pay taxes.

Things may be changing though. An article called “Republicans Who Love Taxes,” by economist Stephen Moore of the libertarian think tank the Cato Institute — not to be confused with Kato played by Bruce Lee in the “Green Hornet” — points to a trend of Republican governors raising taxes in what Moore portrays as almost a contagious fashion. Moore writes in the piece, probably written in 2003,:

“An analysis by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) notes that with nearly $100 billion in state deficit spending gaps to close this year (New York and California make up about half that shortfall), governors may end up raising taxes by half that amount, making 2003 the biggest tax-hike year ever for the states. And yes, many of the calls for the biggest tax increases are coming from Republicans. In Idaho, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne is seeking a 1.5 cent per dollar hike in the sales tax. In Arkansas, Mike Huckabee is lobbying for a sales tax hike and assorted other fee increases, as are Kenny Guinn of Nevada and Bob Taft of Ohio. One of the most cockeyed tax schemes has been advanced by John Rowland of Connecticut, who has called for a Clintonesque “millionaire income tax surcharge.”

Now whether these people who must be heathens to many in the GOP — perhaps that’s one reason Huckabee hasn’t exactly been on fire in the 2008 Republican presidential nomination race — actually got the taxes they pushed I don’t know. And I don’t care.

And that’s the point.

Addendum-de-dum-dum: I had forgot my U.S. history from college almost 25 years ago. And it must have been a subconscious nudge that made me check out from the library earlier this week “William Howard Taft: The President Who Became Chief Justice,” and was written in 1970 by Bill Severn. I totally forgot that the big guy, Taft, pushed for the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment states:

“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Is that irony or am I just whistling “Dixie?”

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