Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Saving the day

Or at least, solving many of the problems we currently have with our domestic economy --

I have no degrees in anything, much less anything having to do with economics or politics. I have no direct experience with the American political system, and little peripheral (other than the two years I spent typing up a backlog of City Council minutes in Tampa, FL, and all the poli-blogs I read daily). I am, in fact, awash in ignorance. There's no reason anyone should take any of my political ravings seriously, which is one reason why, for a very long time, I kept my poli-blogging very intermittent, and confined it to my other blog, where it tended to get lost in the sea of geekiness over there.

Still, I got opinions and viewpoints on politics, even if they are worthless and stupid (and having worthless and stupid opinions on politics doesn't slow down a great many poli-bloggers at either end of the political spectrum, either) so obviously, this is where I post them, for the rest of the world to largely ignore. (Well, sometimes I post them in comment threads on other poli-blogs, where the bloggers largely or even entirely ignore them, but then I always repost them over here, so all the people who don't know about this blog or who do but who don't read it can ignore them, too. I'm magnanimous, I am.)

Anyway, here's the deal whereby we can totally fix pretty much all of our economic woes, and it's not even a new idea, or particularly brilliant. It's also not at all feasible given our current state of cultural evolution. All it has going for it is that (a) it would work really really well, and (b) in addition to that, it's both ethical and moral. (Which leaves it completely outside the provenance of any known human government, but let's pretend that's not true for a moment.)

It's a two step.

Step 1: Legalize most if not all recreational drugs, prostitution, and gambling.

Step 2: Tax the living fuck out of them.

('Tax', in this case, covers both front end taxes, like licensing fees for those wishing to embark on one of these highly lucrative professional endeavors, and more traditional sales taxes on the back end.)

As mentioned in one of my previous posts here, the government currently makes billions, on both a state and Federal level, in gasoline taxes.

Try to imagine how much tax revenue would roll in from, say, a 7% sales tax on ganja. Or crank. Or blowjobs, for the love of sweet baby jebus. Or the proceeds from the perfectly legal roulette wheel at the new casino over there in that formerly vacant lot that did nothing but grow weeds for the last thirty years since Red Barn went under.

As I said, I am not an expert in anything that would seem to remotely bear on this, but I will stand by my opinion, heretical though it is, that nearly all government inadequacies come down to a lack of funding. Personally, I would like to pay, equip, and house our military service people much, much better than we currently do. I would like to provide access to quality health care for everyone living in America. I would like to make our public education system the envy of the industrialized world. I would like to restore the social safety net. I would like to create a national job placement system that actually works. I would like to make a quality higher education much much cheaper for anyone with enough intelligence to pass admissions exams. I would like to cure cancer. I would like to feed every hungry kid in America... well, I'd like to feed every hungry kid in the world, for that matter. And I could go on and on, and most likely, so could you, although depending on who 'you' are, some of the stuff you want to do may well be very scary and shouldn't be countenanced by any sane government anywhere.

(All my stuff is cool, though.)

None of which is the point; the point is, doing any of these things, much less all of them, requires a great deal of money.

I may have no degrees and no political experience, but I know that for a pure d fact, as some Stephen King character or another once opined.

I also know that most of us would like to see our government do a great deal more than it is currently doing (if only in certain narrow or very specific areas) and would at the same time like to pay a great deal less in taxes, and what we mean when we say 'taxes' is, in general, income taxes... the stuff that they yank out of our check before we ever get our check.

Hence, my plan.

Here's another idea for raising tax revenue without, you know, raising our income taxes:

Tax Political Action Committees. Currently, I am pretty sure PACs are all tax exempt. And contributing to a PAC is actually a tax write off. I hate this. PACs are pretty much directly responsible for all the ugly campaign commercials you see on TV, plus all those crappy yard signs and those annoying phone calls and those aggravating political mailers we get every election year. And they don't even have to pay taxes? And you get a tax break for enabling this horseshit? Screw that. I say, eliminate the tax deduction for supporting political campaigns, and for every dollar a PAC spends on aggravating the living shit out of the rest of us, it first has to pay a buck in taxes to the Federal government. Or, to put it even more simply, when someone contributes money to a PAC, they don't get to do it with untaxed money, and 50% of it goes to the Federal treasury, to be spent on, I don't know, Social Security, or something.

It won't raise as much as crank, speed, ganja, licensed skankery, and legalized blackjack. But, still, a few billion dollars at least runs through PACs every year. And if PACs are taxed at 50%, we can always hope that means there will only be half as much annoying campaign crap to wade through every two years.

My other plan is to hook a flywheel to Rush Limbaugh's mouth, which should let us run the entire national power grid, plus Iraq, for the cost of three or four Domino's pizzas a day. And we could probably sell excess power to Uzbekistan, too. It's the way things ought to be. But, you know, that's probably just me being frivolous.

I'm also being frivolous, or at least, absurd, in even proposing the other stuff. We can't legalize drugs, prostitution, or gambling, because, you know, those things are BAD. And we know they're bad, because, well, people in nice suits with deep, booming voices keep telling us they're bad, and we cannot allow adults members of our highly moral society to do things that we know are bad. That would be permissive, which would also be BAD. And again, we know permissiveness is BAD, because people in nice suits... oh, you're ahead of me. Okay.

Now, there's nothing essentially BAD about taxing PAC dollars and eliminating the tax deduction for political contributions, but, still, it would threaten some deeply entrenched interests, and would probably result in considerably less money for our individual politicans to spend aggravating the crap out of us during election years, and they don't want that, and they're the ones that actually make laws, so, you can forget about that happening, also.

One last codicil, simply as a matter of personal taste -- if I did wake up tomorrow on Earth-Sanity, and we did suddenly find ourselves represented by elected officials willing to legalize all these vices, I would very much like it if they then forbid purveyors of these vices to advertise openly. No billboards. No TV or radio or newspaper spots. No display ads in the Yellow Pages. A simple, elegant line in the phone directory, and word of mouth, should be perfectly adequate.

My reasons for this are profoundly subjective. When SuperFiancee was driving me up to River City for the first time, lo these many moons ago, our route took us through Nashville. Never before or since have I seen so many casino billboards in my life, and frankly, they depressed and irritated the shit out of me. There is something enormously abrasive to the human spirit about any or all of these vices, I in no way deny that, and similarly, there is something almost equally degrading about any form of commercial advertising even at the best of times. Combine the two and what you end up with is an utter aesthetic, spiritual, and emotional blot on the very escutcheon of our culture.

Personally, I'd like to outlaw all billboards anyway, and I wouldn't mind finding a way to get rid of the entire commercial advertising industry, too. I have hopes our culture is slowly growing into this anyway, with the increasing popularity of subscription TV and satellite radio services. But I would certainly want to see the same proscriptions on advertising gambling, drugs, and hookers as currently obtain on cigarettes. Otherwise, the entire landscape simply becomes one great big depressing visual blare of utterly soulless, completely mercantile sensuality. And while I'm all in favor of sensuality, I prefer mine to maintain at least the illusion of amateur status.

Oh, yeah, and kind of on this subject, I'm adding another plank to my Third Party Alternative Party platform -- Vote For Me and I will outlaw the use of all popular music in commercials. Seriously. This shit is a blight, and it's got to stop.

I need to do a post on my Third Party Alternative Party platform. Maybe I'll work on that soon.


At 10:38 AM, Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Still, I got opinions and viewpoints on politics, even if they are worthless and stupid (and having worthless and stupid opinions on politics doesn't slow down a great many poli-bloggers at either end of the political spectrum, either)

...or politicians for that matter.

'Tax', in this case, covers both front end taxes...

...front end taxes on prostitution? Did you really say that? Whew, how close did we come to 'rear end taxes', too?

At 10:41 AM, Blogger SuperFiancee said...

Oh, and the Rush Limbaugh thing was pretty funny. And a good use for Dominoes Pizza's, too.

At 6:34 PM, Blogger Highlander said...

Tax every hole, thass what I say. ::hic::


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