Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Progressive Prohibitionists And The Politics Of Vengeance

Government begins to be a bother when it uses the power of the state to prohibit normative behavior. The primary instrument of compulsion in this case is – and should never be – the tax code. Ordinary people who would not know a political ideology from a lamppost may be forgiven for reacting normally to a government that uses the tax code to shape behavior.

And yet this practice has become as common as table salt, which some people believe should be taxed exorbitantly because it isn’t good for you.

Among other items and practices not good for you are tobacco products. These have been on the hit list of world reformers since Dick Blumenthal sued Big Tobacco, taxes were piled on, and soon – but not soon enough for Connecticut’s consumer protection Attorney General -- the product became unaffordable and undesirable. A good thing too, many people thought, because the tobacco had been linked to cancer, and it contained additive properties. Current Attorney Generalisimo William Tong has joined other attorneys general in progressive states in an attempt to drive President Donald Trump from office, although Trump has not been known to cause cancer.

Tong, along with the entire Democrat Party, wants to examine Trump’s tax records, hoping to find in that mare’s nest an item they may use to shoehorn him out of office; after a two year attempt to find Trump had traitorously conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to deny the presidency to Hillary Clinton, that bumper car ran out of electricity. There is not a single person in Connecticut – including camera-shy Blumenthal -- who would be able to find in the statutes creating the office of Attorney General a warrant to sue presidents. But never mind; vengeance politics has always colored outside the lines.

A discovery made by Connecticut's Government Administration and Elections Committee, the odious GAEC, may moot the whole effort anyway. If successful, their effort would prevent voters in Connecticut from casting their ballots for Trump in 2020.

“In meetings Friday and Monday,” CTMirror reports, “the Government Administration and Elections Committee approved dozens of bills, including a measure drafted in response to President Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns in 2016. The bill would require presidential and gubernatorial candidates to release their returns for three years to get on the ballot in Connecticut.” The US Constitution proposes only three limitations on the office of president: the president must be a natural born citizen, over 35 years of age, and the office is limited to two terms. CTMirror did not ask the members of GAEC when they had planned to propose another amendment to limit the office to their liking.

Under the new Democrat Party dispensation, if you like your car, you can’t have it. If you like your house, you can’t have it. If you like your town to regulate and finance local schools, you can’t have it under a consolidation plan that deconstructs and reconstructs school boundaries. If you like our president, you can’t have him.

Cars are a menace, Green New Deal proponents assure us, because fossil fuels will render the planet uninhabitable in 20 years or more. The members of Connecticut’s all Democrat U.S. Congressional Delegation, among other leftists, would much prefer it if people took trains and buses. The price of gas in Connecticut is encumbered with numerous taxes: a federal tax of more than 18 cents a gallon, and a state tax of 43 cents a gallon, as of January the 8th highest gas tax in the nation. As a general rule, taxes attached to products and services boost costs and reduce consumption. The miles traveled per driver in Connecticut annually are 12,117, the 7th lowest in the nation.

Whatever you tax or regulate tends to disappear. According to Turbo Tax, Connecticut’s tax burden – “what taxpayers actually spend in local and state taxes” – falls just behind New York at 12.6%; Americans paid an average rate of 9.9 percent in state and local taxes in 2012. Unsurprisingly, taxpayers are beginning to disappear. “Connecticut Ranks 3rd in Country for People Moving Out,” according to the Yankee Institute, which has drawn its figures from a 2019 National Movers Study by United Van Lines.

The figures suggest that Big Tax Democrats have rendered life in Connecticut, for many in “the land of steady habits,” uninhabitable.

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