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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A Tax Worth Keeping

Bet that got your attention.

But, yes.  There is a tax that the federal government needs to keep collecting.  It's called the fuel tax.  Or, more properly, the federal excise tax on gasoline.

Why would I, a conservative (or right-wing, bomb-throwing, reactionary neanderthal, as some would have it), support the gas tax?

Because of the purpose that it serves.

Consider this: We conservatives are easily labeled as being anarchists opposed to all taxes, because we speak out - often - against any and all forms of federal revenue.  And we complain bitterly about the size and reach of government.

But we're not anarchists.  We believe in government.  Limited governmentEffective government (if such a thing is possible).  Government with very confined, clearly defined responsibilities. 

And in order to achieve that limited goal, we need for our government to raise limited amounts of revenue to pay its way.

The gas tax?  It goes toward the construction and maintenance of the nation's highways and byways (and too many other things, but we'll save that for another day).  And if there is anything that we should all agree on, it's the fact that the government does have an interest in interstate commerce.  As well as "promoting the general welfare."

So here's to a reasonable gas tax.

May it soon be renewed.

- - -

Ever wonder why gasoline jumps in price when you drive north out of Virginia and into West Virginia (sorry, in my world, West Virginia is north of Virginia as I know it) or south into North Carolina?


The Fight Has Just Begun

I listened to Mark Levin on the radio last night as I was driving home.  All I can say is, man, take a pill and buck up.  The world as we know it hasn't come to an end with the debt ceiling agreement having been hammered out.

The world has not come to an end.

But it is fair to say that we are now at the beginning of the end of the world as we knew it.

And thank God for that.

To Mark and all my Tea Party buddies I offer this bit of wisdom from Mao Tse Tung, a guy who knew something about how the great battles of history play out:

"Historically, all reactionary forces on the verge of extinction invariably conduct a last desperate struggle against the revolutionary forces, and some revolutionaries are apt to be deluded for a time by this phenomenon of outward strength but inner weakness failing to grasp the essential fact that the enemy is nearing extinction while they themselves are approaching victory."

We approach victory, Mark.  Though that day may be far off.


And stay focused on who your opposition is.  It ain't John Boehner.

As William McGurn puts it this morning:
 Even from this sunny perspective, it's hard to look at the debt-ceiling compromise and see it as anything but a conservative victory. It's not just that Speaker of the House John Boehner succeeded in imposing some conditions in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. It's that the deal has Democrats, including the president, essentially signing on to the Republican framework for defining the Beltway's budget problem: spending that is too high rather than taxes that are too low.

Mr. Boehner comes away with most of what he wanted. He comes away with even more once you recognize that these negotiations typically are less about balancing the budget than about getting Republicans to agree to discredit themselves on taxes, usually in exchange for promises of spending restraint that never materialize. Ask George H.W. Bush.

This time the Democrats miscalculated. One mistake was thinking they were forcing the GOP into a rerun of 1995-96, when a Republican House overplayed its hand and ended up being blamed for shutting down the government. This time Republicans showed they had learned their lesson.

First, Mr. Boehner said he was against a shutdown, and put forth different solutions that would raise the debt ceiling without raising taxes. Second, by rejecting everyone else's plan while offering no plan of his own, the president effectively took himself out of the game. This curious exercise of presidential "leadership" transformed Mr. Obama into the Newt Gingrich of this debate, while Mr. Boehner looked serious and reasonable.

Yes, Mr. Obama got a deal that takes him past next year's election, and can play himself up as the greater compromiser. The price, however, was high. Effectively he has surrendered to the Republican framework for debate on taxes and spending.
We have changed - in a very small way thus far - the debate in Washington.  The struggle that took place - though the fruits of victory may seem insignificant - was a triumph.  The Tea Party thundered.  The establishment shrank in fear and abdication.

We did good.

"In times of difficulty we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage."
-- Mao Tse Tung --

Let's pluck up. And begin the battle anew.

Headlines You Don't Ever Want To Read

On That 'Food Desert' In Roanoke

Bill Quick, of Daily Pundit fame, took my weblog post yesterday in which I made a mockery of the whole "food desert" notion (as put forth by the editorial page of the Roanoke Times), and added his own take as to the cause of the "problem":
I live in the heart of a “food desert” in San Francisco. No chain supermarkets anywhere to be found. And very little of anything else, either. First, San Francisco fights all national chains, trying to hold any new construction hostage to a host of extra fees, charges, and commitments to things like “affordable housing.” And second, in my specific (ghetto) nabe, any national chain probably needs to tack an extra 10% onto the cost of doing business above and beyond the bribes to the city to cover theft, violence, liability insurance, and security. Why? Because the people in my neighborhood amount to less than fifteen percent of the population, but commit more than fifty percent of the crime.

That’s why. 

To the kids at the Roanoke Times I offer this advice: You have an audience.  You have a legitimate concern.  But instead of advocating that we feed the problem (literally), reach out to your audience with a fix.

Roanoke "food deserts" would be teeming with capitalism if (a) capitalists saw an opportunity to make money in the neighborhoods at issue (b) without fear of having their heads handed to them.  If they can do it in the back allies of Kandahar, they can do it on Montrose Avenue in Roanoke.