Tuesday, January 14, 2003

It's Happy Hour in America

With the Bush Administration's most recent proposal for an economic stimulus plan, there's hope we may be entering into a new era of tax fairness and sanity. Slashing and burning the impediments to investment and returning to the people some of the economic freedoms taken away over the past few decades are objectively fine ideas and well overdue. All right thinking Americans with an understanding of basic economics agree on this.

But what about those who aren't right thinking and who don't have a basic understanding of economics? Without their support this whole plan could be undermined by the simplistic rhetoric of class envy, espoused by those who wish to retain control of the purse strings, so they can continue to parcel out the treats to their favored pets. As evidenced by the Democratic response to the President's plans, it seems that this process is well underway already.

But there is hope. I believe the key to gaining the support of Joe Six Pack for big, big tax cuts across the board is a full on assault against a particular tax from 1990. A tax slapped on us by the current president's Chablis drinking father and his Peach Blow Fizz swilling Democratic co-conspirators in the Congress. In 1990 the Federal excise tax on a barrel of beer doubled, going from $9 to $18. This was a tax levied in coordination with taxes placed on luxury items, such as expensive cars, fur coats, jewelry, yachts, and private airplanes. Due to an outcry from the affected industries about the deleterious affect on consumption caused by these onerous taxes, most of them were repealed by 1993. Yet astoundingly, the beer tax has gone on, increasing the retail price of this golden elixir and preferred opiate of the masses by 44%. (This information has been provided by the fine folks at the Beer Institute of America. Those that know me realize I don't use the term "hero" lightly and I believe these lobbyists to be the greatest heroes in American history.)

This tax is an outrage and it cannot stand. My humble advice to the Republican Congressional leadership is to bundle all their tax reform proposals into a single piece of legislation, throw in a complete repeal of all taxes on beer, and entitle it "The Free Beer for All Americans Bill". Then watch the multitudes of Middle America rise up demand this sort of tax justice. Tack on an amendment dictating half price appetizers from 4 - 6 PM and we just might get this thing passed unanimously.

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