How much have you got? How did you get it?


Attention Conservation Notice: This begins with a note about Alabama politics, then discusses equitable taxation in general, mentioning Winston Churchill.

Today the Alabama legislature’s Republicans are expected to rally (for the fourth time this session) around the medieval principle of “might makes right” — especially its fiscal corollary: that the state should tax heads, but wealth should be tax-exempt.

In brief, taxes are for little people. So the state tax on groceries will survive another challenge today, in order that a state income tax shelter for the super-rich can be saved. (Prior posts are here, here, and here.)

This is an ancient principle that keeps democracy in check: Peasants pay taxes. Castles are exempt. Corporations are modern-day castles. Continue reading “How much have you got? How did you get it?”

Socialism is gonna get your momma

So today the real Americans turned out en masse to protest “socialism,” government spending, middle-class tax cuts, taxes (period), and the election of a Kenyan Muslim as president of the United States. Not that we’re racist or anything. Just patriotic. You can tell by our “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and our use of Boston […]

Republicans defend the grocery tax

The bill to repeal the grocery sales tax was defeated a second time in the Alabama House yesterday. Bill sponsors and Democratic leaders in the House say they’ll keep trying. The opposition was almost uniformly Republican. Their complaint was that the bill would unfairly penalize rich taxpayers by removing the state income tax deduction for […]

It’s tax rip-off season

From research by the National Consumer Law Center, a private, non-profit advocacy group in Boston: About 60 percent of taxpayers hire someone to do their income taxes. But tax preparers often make mistakes or give bad advice. Anyone can open a tax-prep service. No special knowledge is required, and only three states require licenses (California, […]

Don Siegelman and dashed hopes

I may never forgive Don Siegelman. His election as Alabama governor in 1998 raised hopes for our demoralized state’s future — hopes that were plainly and movingly expressed in an essay that I’ve saved for nine years. It’s called “Selma, Alabama at 4 A.M.,” and it’s by a guy named Will Bevis from Gadsden. (I’m […]

Compassionate Americans

I just want to record an insight on politics from a discussion with our favorite American in Italy. (Call him Giacomo.) It is this: Americans, taken by and large, are compassionate as long as they don’t have to talk or think about “compassion.” “Compassion” is fuzzy-headed, ineffectual, improvident, and invites all kinds of trouble. It […]