Before we get to the meat of today's post, I must first announce - drum roll, please - the receipt of letter from Green Canary! I wrote to the ever-entertaining and slightly off-center Canary (self-described as, "Uncaged. Unhinged. Unusual.") after she responded to my last offer of a personal, hand-written letter, and she has done her part by writing back. This means that I am now owed two letters from previous recipients: my high-school friend and college roommate Ed, and good old Mike. I think Mike hasn't written back because he's waiting for his over-plucked goose to grow a new crop of quills. If you, treasured reader, want a letter of your own, send your snail-mail address to bilbo_the_blogger (at) yahoo (dot) com, and you, too, can have a personal letter of your very own to keep all the bills and junk mail in your mailbox company.
But enough of that ... there are rants to be ranted.
One of the infuriating things about the ongoing political buffoonery is the tendency of people on both sides of any debate to reduce complex topics to easily-parroted, bumper-sticker absolutes: black or white, yes or no, you're for us or against us, chicken or fish, etc, etc. The discussion of taxes is one such issue that is routinely reduced to meaningless polar opposites for purpose of counting political coup against opponents (as opposed to actually shedding light and understanding on an important topic).
In this regard, you may be interested in this article by Christopher Beam from Slate.com - Taxonomy: Beyond "Hikes" and "Cuts."
In this short, yet information-filled article, Mr Beam goes beyond the ordinary political bloviation about "tax hikes" - vs - "tax cuts" to explore the various types of political dodges that complicate the raising of revenue (note to the GOP and the Tea Party wingnuts: the Constitution (Section 8, specifically) does, in fact, give the federal government the authority to collect taxes). He distinguishes between (or is it among?) the following tax terms:
Incremental Tax Cuts/Hikes;
Derivative Tax Cuts/Hikes;
Do-Nothing Tax Hikes; and,
I haven't gone into the details of each one, because Mr Beam's article does a very good job and it's worth your time to read it in full. It's not long, and it lends subtlety and nuance to a critical topic which is generally obscured by layers of pettifoggery and general political ass-clownery.
And in case you were keeping track, it's only 260 days until April 15, 2010.
Have a good day. Don't overtax yourself. More thoughts tomorrow.