There's an old joke about a boy who complains to his mother that his little sister keeps pulling his hair.
"Oh," responds the mother, "she doesn't know that it hurts."
A few minutes later, the mother hears the girl scream and runs into the other room. "She knows now," the boy explains.
There's a lesson for Republicans in that old joke, if they're smart enough to absorb it.
For the past few years, there has been a drumbeat in favor of increased taxes from Democrats of all stripes. Make the rich pay their "fair share." Get rid of "loopholes." Make the fat cats "chip in a little more." Then Democrats hold up budgets and bills in an effort to extract some tax increases from Republicans.
It's no coincidence that much of the Democrats' base doesn't have to worry about taxes much, either because they work for nonprofits and public entities that don't pay taxes, or because they live off government benefits, or because they work in industries -- like the motion picture and recording industries -- with a long history of shady accounting and favorable tax treatment. Republicans, if they're smart, can nonetheless teach them that tax increases do, in fact, hurt.
They should head into the next budget battle with a list of proposals for tax increases that will sting Democratic constituency groups, but which will seem eminently fair to voters.
The first such proposal would be to restore the 20 percent excise tax on motion picture theater gross revenues that existed between the end of World War II and its repeal in the mid-1950s. The campaign to end the excise tax had studio executives and movie stars talking like Art Laffer, as they noted that high taxes reduced business income, hurt investment and cost jobs.
The movie excise tax was imposed in response to the high deficits after World War Two. Deficits are high again, and there's already historical precedent. Of course, to keep up with technology, the tax should now apply to DVDs, downloadable movies, pay-per-view and the like. But in these financially perilous times, why should movie stars and studio moguls, with their yachts, swimming pools and private jets, not at least shoulder the burden they carried back in Harry Truman's day -- when, to be honest, movies were better anyway.
For extra fun, they could show pictures of David Geffen's yacht and John Travolta's personal Boeing 707 on the Senate floor. You want to tax fat cats? I gotcher "fat cats" right here! Repeal the Hollywood Tax Cuts!
On who? I'm assuming that the film industry in the US makes money so why would any party want to damage it for political reasons?
By the logic of this story, Democrats, to appease Republicans who want more cuts to government handouts, should cut farm subsidies, since I'm guessing the majority of those receiving them are Republican supporters.
Food Stamps are part of the Farm Bill.
I don't believe in them either.
You have an alternative?
Why can't welfare recipients just buy their own groceries? Or am I misunderstanding the concept of food stamp?
It's a separate program, Food Stamps is just one among a few. There is no one, catchall Federal "Welfare" program in the US. There are various social safety nets all run by different organizations. What makes it worse is each of the 50 States has its own eligibility requirements.
Some States are more efficient than others. Some have higher eligibility requirements than others. Back in '07/'08 I spent six months unemployed and then a full year working part time. I didn't qualify for any Welfare program.
We have similar all or nothing programs in Canada too. Crazy. I know of more than one family who've quit work because they couldn't afford to not be on welfare. There is one part of my town that the joke is you can find the welfare homes by seeing who can afford sat tv (they are the homes with the dishes).
It wasn't all or nothing, I just didn't meet any of the qualifications. Mostly because I'm a white guy. My girlfriend at the time met the qualifications for two programs, health insurance and nutritional supplements. But, that changed as soon as her condition changed.
Crazy. Multiple programs with multiple government employees all doing overlapping work making government salaries and benefits.I wonder how much gets eaten up in the process of delivering the care. And I thought we were more into big gov't than you Americans.
They should be required to disclose what percentage of their budget goes toward administrative costs, and what percentage to actual use ... like a charity does.
Part of the problem with not wanting a big government is, a bunch of little government programs pop up all over the place which end up being more intrusive and costing more money.