Taxation by Representation
One of my favorite quotations — in fact, something of an article of faith for me –comes from the great Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: “I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.”
This is a credo which deserves wide circulation and support during an era dominated by a man so devoid of this conviction that he continues to hide his tax returns.
What is President Trump so ashamed of? Confirmation of everything already publicly known about his adult life. The man is a chiseler and a cheater, who has consistently ripped off the American Treasury and all the people who share in underwriting it. The same characteristics define his business career, underhandedly underpaying so many of his employees, contractors and investors.
He is also, alas, perfectly representative of that portion of the Republican Party and its supporters who want to put civilization on a pay-to-play basis.
Take for example, Republican Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, who recently spoke up against being asked to pay for pr-natal care for women, because, as a male (pardon me, but who could call this jerk “a man?”) he only participates in pregnancy through his dipstick.
Does Rep. Shimkus propose a discount for women to excuse them from paying for his prostate care or preventing his gender-based increased risk of heart disease, covered by his gold-plated, taxpayer-financed,
Or perhaps Rep. Shimkus considers the whole concept of publically financed health insurance to be uncivilized, like his pals on the Dead Red Right, Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas and Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah (Rep. is here an obvious abbreviation for Reprehensible.)
Here’s a kind thought about poor people from the physician-Rep. Marshall, “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves. The Medicaid population, which is [on] a free credit card as a group, do probably the least preventive medicine and taking care of themselves and eating healthy and exercising. And I’m not judging; I’m just saying socially that’s where they are.”
I’m surprised Dr. Marshall, and I’m not judging either, didn’t have the courage to finish his thought: “So fuck ‘em!”
Then, there’s Chaffetz whose only objection to Gen. Michael Flynn’s attempt to undermine President Obama’s sanctions against Russia for messing with America’s 2016 elections, or to Flynn’s lying about it to Vice President Mike Pence, was how these misbehaviors were brought to public notice. “Mishandling of classified information,” Chaffetz harrumphed, had “grave effects on national security.”
If Rep. Chaffetz has had any thoughts on Flynn’s belated admission that his influence had, as I noted months ago, been “bought and paid for” by an ally of Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan, and its “grave effects on national security,” he’s kept them to himself. But on the subject of medical insurance for poor Americans, Chaffetz has been noisy and noisesome. “Americans have choices, and they’ve got to make a choice. So, maybe rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to go spend hundreds of dollars on that, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”
You want me to buy civilization for those folks? Not on your life, says the Ute brute: “I believe in self-reliance.”
So, Little Lord Emerson, you’re buying your own health insurance, and resigning your reliance on CongressCare?
Sure, right after Trump reveals his tax returns.
Once upon a time, the leadership of the Republican Party believed they did owe a notional debt to present and future civilizations. This is from the memorable Farewell Address of President Dwight Eisenhower: “As we peer into society’s future… we must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage.”
How might one describe the “political and spiritual heritage” of John Shimkus, Roger Marshall and Jason Chaffetz, or the Chiseler-in-Chief Donald J. Trump?
You get all the civilization your private wealth can buy you. For your taxes, you get reduced gas mileage, increased air pollution, despoiled wetlands and a perfectly useless, if ugly, wall.
***Our week on HERE& THERE begins Monday with a conversation with the recently-retired but fully tuned in NBC News political correspondent Steve Handelsman. The subjects: President Trump, his “he tapped me” charge against former President Obama, and the possibilities of a real investigation of the connections between the Trump mob and V. Putin’s
Tuesday, we hear from Dan Habib, once an award-winning newspaper photographer, now an award-winning video documentarian. The birth of his son Samuel and his diagnosis of cerebral palsy focused Dan and his camera on how Samuel and other “special needs” children get treated by public schools. Dan is as eloquent and intelligent as his documentaries.
On Wednesday, we look at the US-Mexico border and how it is regularly penetrated by the drug trade. Albuquerque Journal investigative reporter Mike Gallagher recently completed a 6-part series called “The Cartels Next Door.’ One conclusion he came to: President Trump’s wall won’t make a difference to a dirty business whose estimated value is somewhere between $6 and $40 billion a year.
On Thursday, author and scholar David Isenberg updates us on the ever-growing industry of private military services, including the latest venture of Blackwater founder Erik Prince: setting up private security training centers in 2 of the most ethnically combative province of China. What kind of civilization do you suppose Prince’s Chinese customers aspire to?
Visit www.davemarash.com where Amy Marash puts her pen to work on Trumpy Tweetness and the Blackwater Prince’s latest project.