Taxes vs. the Common Good

With the projection that the tax reform bill which passed this week will throw another $1.5 trillion dollars on the national debt over the next decade, I was reminded of a quote from Ernest Hemingway:

“How did you go bankrupt?”
Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

― Ernest HemingwayThe Sun Also Rises

and combined with The Tipping Point — an idea and a book by Malcolm Gladwell:

“The tipping point is the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development.” (Google)

I wonder if this political experiment called the United States, this democracy, has hit a tipping point?

  • Did we hit the tipping point when we decided Social Security was a good idea? (1935)
  • With Medicare and Medicaid? (1966)
  • Various and sundry wars through the years? Ugh. Now that’s a long list …

Can we continue to afford capitalism? Pure unadulterated obeisance to business to solve any and all economic problems?

Well, the GOP Tax Reform Bill passed this week. And with some of the last minute additions to the bill — I’m looking at you Bob Corker — “taxation without representation” has morphed into “no taxation with representation.” Which, when you think about it, explains the Kochs — the Charles & David. But I’ll save that for another time. This is a time of good cheer.

Due to cold weather, the celebratory beer lap around the White House Rose Garden in golf carts has been postponed. Also, Trump had to get to Mar-a-lago. 

A Merry Christmas to you all!


As I rifled through my list of draft posts, I tripped across the Vox editorial by a former Wisconsinite who noted that his quality of life is better. In Sweden. Where there are

… more TAXES!!!

And it reminds me that at one time improvement and maintenance of the “common good” in the US was a priority, a goal. Taxes were not a necessary evil. Taxes paid for education, for infrastructure, for common defense, for all the things in the Preamble to the Constitution. The strength of our struggled union can be measured by our individual freedoms and the quality of life afforded to all. Not just a few. All of ‘We the People,’ the whole collective, the Common Good.


In closing, consider the metaphorical economic teeter totter – businesses at one end have taken our money and continue to take our money — I’m looking at you now, Apple — and they have run off to work in other playgrounds leaving our Common Good butt hurt on the other end of the totter, on the ground, awaiting trickle down.  Maybe we’ll have lunch money.

And the playground monitors don’t address playground shenanigans, changes to the landscape, the changing rules. After all, they’re part, parcel, and party to all of it. (And I’m still looking at you Bob Corker.)

Recess is almost over. The trading day ends. The bell will ring.¹


¹ Love me my mixed metaphors.

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