Doug Smith: Everyone Hates the Tax Man

3 Sep

 Recent polls, for what they are worth, (amazingly little) tighten the gap between Trump and Biden and give Trump a clear lead in one particular. Now, does it take a history buff to help you figure out what that one area might be? I’ll wait. (Picture Alex and the Jeopardy Theme playing)

Yes, of course. It is the economy. As Bill Clinton, excellent politician but ethical reprobate that he is, noted: “It’s the economy, stupid.” When it comes down to it, there are a few very basic, visceral things that drive people to the polls (not, by the way, to the Post Office).

People want to be safe in their homes, and able to pay their bills, buy food, and live their lives in comfort. How to do so? It’s the economy, stupid.

They must have an income. Which means a job. Which means those evil businesses must survive, and thrive. (For a detailed study of why Gummint checks to people who don’t work are not artifacts of a thriving economy, I invite your attention to Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, by William Voegeli.

They must have local governments to keep fire and police protection for their communities, for which they are willing, grudgingly, (if you tell me you are cheerful about paying even taxes that you agree are reasonable and necessary, I will forever doubt your veracity.) This assumes said local governments are not so corrupt or incompetent that for any amount of money, they still can’t manage it.

Finally, the tax man must leave them enough to survive and thrive personally. Can we agree that none of us like the tax man, lawyers, or used car salesmen, even if we must, or do, on occasion interact with them? Hatred of the tax man is ingrained in our culture and our DNA. When Robin Hood of antiquity went after the Shire Reeve of Nottingham, he was fighting the tax man. Sheriffs have traditionally been first of all tax collectors. That they enforce other laws and go after bad guys does not diminish their essential and first function: bringing in the taxes.

There is a point to this. You will, no doubt, find people to cite statistics about how efficient the OBiden administration was at managing the economy. I am reminded of Mark Twain’s note that “Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: ‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Liars, the best of them at least, can lead you to doubt the evidence of your own senses and memory. Who ya gonna believe, they will ask you, me, or your lyin eyes?

In recent months, we have all found ourselves under constant bombardment by “experts”. Now, if my drains are clogged, I’m not going to call a plumbing expert to lecture me on what to do with my clog. I’m going to call a plumber who knows how to fix it and say, have at it. Aldous Huxley reports on a meeting in 1885 in which “ A well-known lawyer, now a judge, once grouped witnesses into three classes: simple liars, damned liars, and experts. He did not mean that the expert uttered things which he knew to be untrue, but that by the emphasis which he laid on certain statements, and by what has been defined as a highly cultivated faculty of evasion, the effect was actually worse than if he had.” So, instead of seeking an “expert”, I’ll ask someone who has had the problem fixed, “Who cleared your clog?”

So, unless you are just turning 18 and about to vote for the 1st time, you were an adult, in theory, trying to live and thrive in the 8 years of the Democrat administration that began with the 2008 elections, and the last 4. You have worked, or not. You have known others to work, or not. You have seen your paycheck, your tax bill, and your retirement accounts, go up or down. You have seen businesses flourish and put up help wanted signs, or board up their doors forever. You have walked around your town and seen people thriving, or struggling. You have heard your leaders tell you “this is as good as it gets, it’s all downhill from here,” then proceed to lead the country to decline, or tell you “the best is yet to come, “and proceed to somehow lead in such a way that business, and Your paycheck, flourished, your tax bill decreased, Your personal lot in life and outlook became better.

So think back over the last 12 years. Look at your tax returns. Look at your bank statement. And never mind what the “experts” try to tell you, answer for yourself. Is that poll right? Do I want my income and taxes to mirror 08-16, or the last 3 years?

Do you want someone you think can feel your pain, or someone you know will leave more money in your pocket? If you are after empathy, try a therapist. But ask some of your older friends who lived from 76 to 80 how it was to have a leadership based on being such a nice guy, and 20% inflation, long lines at the gas pump, shrinking paychecks, and soaring taxes.

Nice doesn’t pay your bills. This is not Miss America, nor is it a popularity contest.

It is, thank you Bill Clinton, about the economy, stupid.

Think carefully.

Doug Smith is an historian and Associate Editor for Free State Patriot

September 3, 2020

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