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Sarah Palin and Joseph Schumpeter walk into a bar…

“Ideologies are for theoreticians.”

Oh yeah…Palin doesn’t speak German and Schumpeter didn’t speak idiot. So, how about this instead?

Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Burke walk into a bar. Hilarity and intelligence ensue…

Every Thursday my gurus, Mr. Burke and Mr. Hamilton, get together at the Heavenly Rest to drink and talk politics. Mr. Burke prefers a whiskey and water, while Mr. Hamilton likes a good strong Sex on the Beach. This week, they ended up talking about President Obama.

David Brooks column this morning is about the internal conflict in the ranks of thoughtful conservatives and the problems inherent in our economy. I think Burke gets the last word, and Alexander Hamilton comes off as the tea party tin-foil hat wearer. But I could be wrong…Still, the deficit hawks don’t really get it.

If the revenue is not sufficient for what you have to do, you grow the revenue or fail. I don’t care if you’re a family, a global corporation, a religious movement or a goddamn country — you can’t make money by counting it. You need money to do things…so get the money. If it requires tax increases, fine — increase them. User fees are a way of shedding the pain. Want to cut back on the number of SUVs on the road? Tax vehicles by weight when it’s time for license renewal. $25 a ton…the Suzuki Swift owner pays about $20; the HUMMV owner pays about $80. Why not?

Excess profit or windfall profit taxes work as well. Koch Industries has net revenue equal to 25% of costs. Establish a reasonable amount as reasonable income, and tax the rest at 50%. You’re not taxing income, you’re taxing revenue. Add a 2% VAT on luxury goods or socially interesting goods like, oh, guns, sportscars, alcohol and tobacco, clothing items over $100, sex toys, pornography, fast food,  whatever.

You know what would really help? Requiring politicians and lobbysists to tell the goddamn truth…but, that’s crazy talk. Both Hamilton and Burke thought politicians were supposed to tell the truth. Hamilton’s inability to tell a polite lie and eat a little crow with Aaron Burr when he knew that he’d been wrong to call Burr a variety of bad things got him killed. I find that admirable, particularly in an environment where people feel fine about just making shit up. Outside of bringing back duels, I don’t have a solution but still…

Here’s another thought — you want US forces in your country to protect you from the bad guys? You pay, the whole enchilada. South Korea obviously has lots of fucking money, and they really want us there. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, same deal. NATO, maybe same deal as well although that’s more complicated. Don’t have the money? Whatchagot? Again, just a thought.

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