Jewish World Review May 23, 2003 / 21 Iyar, 5763

Jay D. Homnick

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Taxonomy of senatorial types | Well, apparently it is that time again, time to get down to brass tacks with the tax brass. The word "scut" is mostly used now to mean a rabbit's tail, but in Noah Webster's archaic memory is recorded its alternate definition as a person deserving of derision. In this spirit, perhaps the time has come to attack scuts in the Senate.

Yes, that ponderous chamber is again the venue of revenue revision. The Bush whack at the tax code has a clear path through the House of Representatives, although picking up about three hundred Reps has trimmed the bill down to a six-pack of hundred billion dollar bills. Then it must wend its way over to the Senate, a body that is august even in May and may well blow a gust of cold wind on the legislation, tempering that only with plenty of hot air.

We have been here before, so we know the script. The Domenici order of New Mexico has its mission, applying the virtue of austerity to the size of the cut rather than to the pork of the budget. It announces that 350 billion sounds about right. The other 250 bil passes off into lore.

Then dem Dems get into the act. Byrd gives a speech worth two of the Bush. Kennedy boozily boos all tax cuts, forgetting that his martyred brother, he of PT109 fame, was the first cutter. John Kerry (of the Kerishevitz Kerrys) reminds us of his Vietnam medals, with which he meddles into every subject to show his mettle. Joe Lieberman wants to know whose ox is being gored. In the end, we can expect a cut of 180 billion over ten years, the economic equivalent of a paper cut.

You don't have to be Jewish to see that these levies are awry. Taking forty cents out of every dollar earned beyond about one hundred thou per annum means that the government is actively shrinking the nation's job market in the higher categories of talent. My home economics study didn't extend far beyond the pie chart, but please allow me to draw you a verbal diagram. (Jane Fonda taught me that: don't remonstrate, demonstrate.)

Let's say that I am CEO of a company, and I determine that hiring a computer programmer can bring my firm a firm ninety thousand dollars. I interview a candidate who needs sixty thousand dollars a year to live comfortably and save for retirement. A simple case of hire mathematics, eh, Watson? Sixty for you, thirty for me, right?

Wrong. Uncle Sam, our rumpled kin on stilts, says that in order for my employee to spend sixty, I have to write him a salary of one hundred. The other forty goes to the various activities one associates with reprobate uncles, such as investing in failing businesses and supporting single mothers. Paying one hundred to make ninety is illogical for business; only government can work that way!

The Reagan system aimed at an approximate peak of thirty percent taxation (at one point it was down to 28). Something similar is deduced by Biblical scholars from the text of Samuel I Chapter 8, ten percent to support the executive bureaucracy, ten percent for redistributionist amelioration of poverty, plus a like amount to support a standing military. The White House is gently trying to return that fourth ten percent, the false tithe, to those tony producers of wealth who broaden the way for freedom. (Sorry, I promised Mel Brooks that plug.)

Most Americans are too intimidated to fight back against taxes, thinking that what you don't know may have virtue. Savvy to this, our polling pols keep coming back to mulct the utterly cowed. It's time for us to recall those Senators who are much too homogenized, and put them out to Pasteurization, where the only green they can mismanage is on the golf course.

JWR contributor Jay D. Homnick is the author of many books and essays on Jewish political and religious affairs. Comment by clicking here.


04/23/03The Nutrasweet War against the Axis of Evil: Did Rummy forget?

© 2003, Jay D. Homnick