March 13, 2008: An Update from the Institute
From the Rail: Old MacDonald Had a Tax
By Greg Blankenship, President
It seems that every time you turn around these days, someone is calling for a tax increase.
Minnesota, for instance, just hiked taxes by a whopping $6 billion. Closer to home, while you were enjoying a weekend, the Cook County board really enjoyed theirs--by hiking sales taxes yet again. This comes fresh on the heels of the CTA bailout, which is sure to reach into taxpayers' wallets as well. It's getting to the point where it's starting to remind me of Old MacDonald's Farm. Here a tax, there a tax, everywhere a tax, tax. . .
Soon, Old MacDonald might have to start selling off the livestock. This week, however, the Institute and some friends decided to come to the old farmer's aid. In an attempt to cull the growing herd of taxes, we put together a coalition of taxpayer protection groups, business groups and family groups. Our goal is to stop the biggest "bull" in the group of new taxes--an $8 billion behemoth known as SB 2288.
Proponents of SB 2288 claim that this tax will "fix" education funding, despite the fact that only 7.5% of the $8 billion goes for education spending. Property tax relief is also offered as a justification, but when looking at the facts, that falls flat as well.
Here's the real deal: cowbells and whistles aside, the revenue from this massive tax hike will mainly be used for a capital program--i.e., pork to buy Republican votes--and to reward the state for its mismanagement by socking you with its unpaid bills, whether they have to do with pensions, Medicaid, or other debt. In other words, taxpayers will be asked to produce what they
already paid for. Indeed, this "bull" needs to be culled.
We want to give a shout of thanks out to our friends at NFIB, AFP, ATR, FamilyPAC, Family Taxpayers Foundation, and the Sam Adams Alliance for helping with the culling. You can read our collective missive to legislators here.
Hanging With the Cool Kids
By John Tillman, Chairman and CEO
Heard on the street: "Barack Obama is so great. He's so cool!"
Barack's cool quotient, seemingly, keeps skyrocketing. He's handsome, woos the crowd at public events, and seems to rise above it all, expressing our fondest wish that we all just get along and stop this silly fighting. Partisanship is ugly and unpleasant, after all. It's totally old, and totally uncool.
Thank heavens for the hip, cool Barack Obama--he's going to unite us! Let's all hug!
Excuse me while I throw up. (Not a very cool thing to say, probably, but I can't help it).
In certain circles in Illinois--such as the state's college campuses, Chicago's Lincoln Park, large sections of the North Shore, and elsewhere--if you express any skepticism about the very hip, very fresh, very cool Barack, you just don't get it. You do not run with the "in" crowd.
Well, I guess I'll just have to be out. Wouldn't be the first time.
One irony here is that the left has long advocated that it is the substance of a person that matters, not their peripheral attributes, like, say, their attractiveness or coolness.
To the left, substance once mattered above all, or so they said. It certainly did when Kerry and Gore had gravitas and Bush was a dimwit. It certainly mattered when Bill Clinton was the smartest president ever. (I've been thinking about how the formerly "cool" Bill Clinton must be feeling about Barack's skyrocketing cool quotient--it's got to be driving him nuts. Another delicious irony, but hey, I'm shallow.)
A few nights ago, I was speaking with a group of mostly right-of-center activists, and I asked them a question: "What can we do to make liberty cool?"
The Founders explicitly declared independence based upon the supremacy of individual rights over government rights. Now that, when you think about it, is really cool! Anti-establishment. Rebellious. Fresh. New. Revolutionary, even.
Founders like Madison are certainly cooler than Barack, but gosh, they've been dead a long time. Talk about old and boring. So what can we do?
We must begin to communicate on a personal level, with stories about people. We must illustrate the human impact of the government-centric paradigm versus the liberty-centric, people-centric paradigm. This is not easy, and it will take some time, but if we all think and communicate a bit differently, we can make liberty cool once again--just like it was in 1776.
As we all learn from high school, sometimes the homecoming king or the prom queen are just as cool thirty years later. It's worth noting, however, that some of the cool kids--especially those who don't run on substance--just aren't that cool in the long run. Their act falls flat.
The good news for us? Liberty has staying power. And I think it's ready for a comeback.
Questions? Comments? Want to get involved? Please contact John Tillman at email@example.com.