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Robert A. Mills

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Blogs by Robert A. Mills

HAPPY INCOME TAX DAY!
4/15/2009 6:56:18 AM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

Let me be among the first to welcome you to April 15, a day that annually lives in infamy, as this date ninety-seven years ago became a night to remember. Has the sinking of the Titanic become a metaphor for Income Tax Day? Does it make you feel any better to know that more than 50% of our wage-earning fellow citizens pay not one red cent in income taxes? Frustrating—but true.

Tonight here in Atlanta a certain element of our society is holding a “Tea Party” protest against the Federal Revenue Code on the steps (and environs) of the State Capitol Building downtown. Expectations of a humongous turnout have the gendarmes closing off as many as six major contiguous thoroughfares.

You know what amazes me? How much easier it is to protest an unpopular idea than it is to support one that would eradicate it. Hundreds show up for a Fair Tax Rally, while hundreds of thousands will be on hand for a bogus imitation of the Boston Tea Party.

It’s like saying, “Man, I really hate polio, but I’ll be damned if I let my kids get inoculated!”

Over a hundred years ago during Theodore Roosevelt’s administration there was not a State of the Union address, as we know it, where the president went before a joint session of Congress and made a speech (it was TR’s cousin FDR who in 1935 coined the phrase.) Back then, the chief executive wrote out, according to a Constitutional requirement, what was called “A Message from the President,” had it printed, bound, and delivered to be read separately in each chamber, aloud and at different times, by sundry clerks and aides. In 1901, Roosevelt’s message was eighty-two pages long and covered a plethora of topics, one of which rings an alarm bell today, calling for a ban on illegal and indiscriminate immigration, especially if there is a possibility of violence:

“They and those like them should be kept out of this country; and if found here they should be promptly deported to the country whence they came; and far-reaching provision should be made for the punishment of those who stay. . . . The American people are slow to wrath, but when their wrath is kindled it burns like a consuming flame.”

Roosevelt, it seems, had two messages here; the latter might be applied to the Internal Revenue Service and its mandated suppression of individual incentive. Those who attend today’s “Tea Party” protests also, it seems, are burdened by two messages: we’ve got a system that’s broken and is breaking us—but we haven’t a clue what to do about it.

As usual, as Americans, we have misappropriated our priorities.


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