Category Archives: Government

Democracy! How the devil have you lived so long?

“I’ll never vote for anyone named ‘Twinkle,’” wife Charlotte announced suddenly, as we perused our ballots in the voting booth on a sunny election Tuesday. “She can’t be serious.”

Char could only be referring to Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh, one of three candidates for the presidency of the Alabama Public Service Commission, protector of our electricity, gas and water rates. Since it was a primary election the competitive trio were all Republicans; two were men.

Twinkle the candidate

Twinkle the candidate

I felt called upon to adopt my best political-science-father-superior persona and assure Char that Twinkle was indeed serious. She had already scaled the Mount Olympus of Alabama politics, chairmanship of the state Republican Party. Upon expiration of that term of office, Twinkle was taken under the wing of no less than GOP Gov. Bob Riley, who made her a senior advisor in charge of furthering free enterprise and the American Way. Now Riley was unleashing her on the stodgy drones of the PSC, who dwelled in their den chanting the incantations of amperes, volts, joules, megawatts, and “no rate hikes!”

“Politicians set great store by their names on a ballot,” I told Char. They struggle for every gimmick to make those names stand out. As practical politicos they know many persons enter the voting booth without the faintest idea of who they will vote for, or even which candidate is running for what post.  Rather than confess their ignorance, they will latch on to the most attractive name in each race.

Clod hassles Aristides

Clod hassles Aristides

How could it be otherwise? It would take a genius or a professional pol to keep track of the maze of judgeships, county coroners, state representatives and constitutional amendments which benumb the average voter every election day.  I once knew a member of the Mississippi Public Service Commission named ‘Norman A. Johnson Jr.’ who vowed to always have the longest name on the ballot. If he ran into an opponent with a longer handle, Norman would spell out his own middle name. If that didn’t do it, he would turn ‘Jr.’ into ‘Junior.’ Though ‘Twinkle Andress Cavanaugh’ sounds like the reincarnation of an Irish fairy, I reckon she will do well,” was my summation. And so it came to pass. I voted for Twinkle, and smacked my lips in satisfaction when learning next day she had got 48 percent of the vote, enough to put her in a runoff with one of the male candidates. Continue reading

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Government tax scam works since days of ancient Rome

Tacitus, the gabby Roman historian of 1 A.D., reported a new scam making the rounds in ancient commercial circles:

Gaius Cornelius Tacitus

A tax of four per cent on the sale of slaves was remitted, an apparent rather than a real boon, for as the seller was ordered to pay it, purchasers found it was added as part of the price.

I have a clue for Tacitus, who was probably the world’s first newspaper columnist, judging by the volume of imperial dirt he uncovered and publicized. This tax racket probably had been around since governments first learned to squeeze wealth from working stiffs. Smarter stiffs found a way to make the dumber stiffs do the paying.

And it is still going today, as exemplified by the “make them pay their fair share” philosophy of the Democrat Party. The “them” to whom our proto-socialists refer are mostly corporations, because they are the entities with the most money. As each new tax is levied, manufacturers and distributors simply jack up their prices and John Public does the actual paying.  Politicians love this process because they escape the lethal political onus of having voted for a hated general tax. Continue reading

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