Sunday, October 10, 2010

Oldies but Goodies? Or are they “newies?”

From time to time, your correspondent is embarrassed for not providing a steady supply of up to the minute, provocative, and informative essays.

It’s not that we don’t have copious subject matter to contemplate, it’s just that life has a habit of getting in the way.  And that can be in a very good way, as it did today, on an absolutely spectacular fall day, on which I did many things, including some campaign work.  But no matter.

Part of the reason Other Side came to be is that the local media outlet (that would be The Ostrich) would not provide sufficient capacity for our musings.

As it turns out, we have a sizable archive of thought pieces well beyond what they would publish, and we’re just now going back through them to see whether they are dated, or instead, might have relevance even today.

On first look, we are pleasantly surprised.  We found an item just now that reads as if we had written it yesterday, in the context of current events.

So, today we launch a category labeled Oldies but Goodies.  Frank Sinatra, known as Old Blue Eyes, had a unique genius for interpreting the classic American song book. 

Here and now, Old Poppy will do what he can to interpret the classic American thought book.

We open with this number; please let us know what you think of it, and we’re always open to requests!

A Tale of Two Republics

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Once upon a time there was a land far, far away, and for those who lived in the land, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

And in this land, there were two republics: Taxhikistan, and Taxcutistan. The citizens of both were working hard to prosper and enjoy their lives. But they went about it in different ways, because the leaders they chose had very different ideas about how to make things better for the people.

In Taxhikistan, there was a small business bringing in about $100,000 a year. At first, the small business was paying $10,000 a year in taxes to his government. As time went on, the taxes were increased, until they were $20,000 a year. The business owner complained year after year about the impact of the taxes, but the leaders were unresponsive. Finally, after much prodding, the leaders came up with a plan to help the business owner.

They told him they would increase his taxes to $30,000 a year so they could fund a program to help businesses prosper, and that the business owner would receive a $2,000 exemption on his taxes to help his business. The other $8,000 of his tax increase would be used to pay for the new department of business development, and it would live forever, and grow in size.

And the people rejoiced, because the papers carried stories of how the leaders had finally done something to help the business owners. And the leaders prospered, and were praised by the people.

But soon the business owner found things to be worse, not better. He found he could no longer afford health insurance for his employees. So he petitioned the leaders year after year for relief, and they did nothing but raise taxes even higher, until the business owner was paying $40,000 per year, while his revenue was still only $100,000.

Finally, the leaders acted. They raised the business owner’s taxes to $50,000 to fund a new insurance program, and told the business owner he would get a $2,000 tax credit to make it easier for him to afford insurance for his employees. And the business and the business owner died the death of many hikes.

Because the leaders no longer collected taxes from this owner, they raised the taxes on the other owners. They told the people that the death of the business showed that they had to create new programs to protect business, and finance it with new taxes, and so it went.

During the same time in the republic of Taxcutistan, there was also a business owner whose revenue was $100,000 a year, and the leaders collected $10,000 a year from him in taxes. Year after year, the taxes didn’t change, because the owner was not doing any more business.

Then, the business climate changed, and the owner said he was having a hard time keeping his customers, because many of them were from Taxhikistan, and were no longer working. He told his leaders, and they decided to help by lowering his taxes to $8,000 a year.

The owner lowered his prices, and the business prospered. But then things turned worse again because the insurance companies had to raise their rates, and the owner worried that he could no longer insure his employees. So the leaders lowered his taxes to $6,000 a year, so that he would have more money for insurance.

And the business prospered, and grew to $200,000 a year, and the leaders collected $15,000 from the owner in taxes. And because more people were working for the owner, and were now paying taxes, the town began to prosper even more, because it could help other new businesses by keeping taxes low. And the people were happy, and the leaders were praised, for they were doing what was right for the people.

We have a choice between being Taxhikistan, or Taxcutistan. Which will it be? How will we decide? Perhaps we should ask some questions:

· Which business owner is most likely to increase prices, driving customers elsewhere?

· Which business owner is likely to fire workers to cut expenses?

· Which republic is likely to scare away business owners, and which one is likely to attract new business owners?

· Which republic is most likely to have good opportunities for it’s young people when they finish school?

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