January 8, 2018 by lonbud
The First Thing We Do, Let’s Kill The Tax Man
Anti-tax zombie Grover Norquist posted a truly incredible tweet on Twitter Monday. Widely-known in the media (and somewhat in the popular consciousness) for his audacious quote, first published in 2001, that he wasn’t so much interested in abolishing government, rather, just wanted to shrink it to where it might be “drowned in a bathtub” – he is arguably the nation’s foremost one-trick pony arguing “tax is theft.”
Norquist rides high these days in the wake of Donald J. Drumpf’s signature piece of legislation, the only law enacted during his first year in office, wherein a GOP dominated Congress purported to transfer $1.5 Trillion in wealth from 99% of the population to the other 1% via something called The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This dandy law passed with virtually no debate in either chamber of Congress. Numerous legislators admitted prior to voting on it they had not read the bill, which, in a circumstance raising untold mirth among the GOP and staffers in the Drumpf administration, will also leave some 13 million (mostly poor) Americans without health insurance in pretty fucking short order.
The incredible thing (to me, perhaps alone, of course) is that despite having been seemingly successful in completely reorienting the federal tax landscape to blatantly favor corporate interests and the ultra-wealthy at the expense of nearly everyone else in the country, a shit-heel like Norquist felt the need to whip his horse evermore viciously by posting this gem on Twitter:
Granted, the only reason Norquist might ever find inspiration to unearth a 2007 tweet from Oprah Winfrey is that she just so happened on Sunday night to be presented the Cecil B. DeMille award for Lifetime Achievement during the 2018 Golden Globes ceremonies. In her acceptance speech, roundly lauded on social media as something on par with JFK’s “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…” ditty from 1961, Winfrey eloquently, elegantly, forcefully, and by damn, coherently opined that women are not going to stand for being taken advantage of any longer, and that men are going to be part of a break too long in coming from past injustice.
As is their wont, social and mainstream media both immediately overreacted. Within hours, Winfrey was being widely hailed as a viable candidate for President of the United States in 2020.
And Norquist took the bait.
The Estate Tax was originally enacted in 1916. Its general purpose was to discourage the concentration of wealth in the hands of a relatively few powerful families, something of a legacy of the Founders’ enmity toward Royal privilege back in the old countries. It only ever affected a tiny percentage of families in the United States and there have always been means and completely legal strategies for avoiding it. In recent years, the Estate Tax applied only to people who died with probatable estates worth more than $5 Million. In 2013, that meant fewer than 5,000 people in a population of over 300 million.
Here’s why Norquist’s tweet is incredible to me: Oprah Winfrey is childless. She has no one to leave an estate to. She is already using her mindboggling wealth to do incredible things while she is alive and, assuming she has competent attorneys (Hey, O – I could be your guy!), she will never have to worry about any of her “already-taxed” earnings going to the goddamned government.
Which is truly beside the point. The point here is that there are people like Norquist who believe everything good about this world and everything that makes their lives comfortable and secure and predictable is directly attributable to their own efforts. They believe they shouldn’t have to spend a fucking dime to make anyone else’s lives comfortable or secure or predictable – unless they choose to through charitable giving. People like Norquist have no concept of the idea that “united we stand, divided we fall,” or that enabling social services for the least of us ensures better lives, outcomes, and opportunities for all of us.
Norquist may fantasize about drowning government in a bathtub but he strikes me as a guy who is more likely to shuffle off this mortal coil in a fit of auto-erotic asphyxiation.