Hey, Joe, Where You Goin' With That Dumb In Your Hand?

Yesterday, Joe Biden reminded us all what a great gift he is to our nation. The man is deeply in love with the sound of his own voice. Fortunately for the rest of us, what he often says is so amazingly stupid that it is often awesomely entertaining. It’s kind of like the current President Bush’s gift, but with a couple of differences. For one, it’s Bush’s phrasing that is so funny, not the content. For another, Bush is perfectly aware of it and embraces it — remember at the 2004 Republican National Convention? “People sometimes have to correct my English. I knew I had a problem when Arnold Schwarzenegger started doing it.”

Anyway, back to Joe Biden. Yesterday, he started talking about taxes. Astonishingly, here’s a Democrat who favors paying more in taxes — who’da thunk it?

Here’s the full quote from Joe:

“it’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

Oddly enough, the idea that people should be willing to pay higher taxes has been tried already. And we can see just how well it works out.

Several years ago, the Democrats who run Massachusetts pushed through a raise in the state’s income tax, from 5.3% to 5.85%. It was slated to sail through when some anti-tax activists pulled one of the greatest acts of political ju-jitsu I’ve ever seen: they sneaked in a provision making the new tax rate optional, and the lower rate the default. If anyone thought they ought to be taxed at the higher rate, then they were free to check off a little box and pay half a percent higher. But if they thought that the state was already getting enough of their money, then they could simply choose to do nothing and pay the lower rate.

The most recent numbers I’ve seen on how well that works out are from 2006. In that year, there were 1,540,000 tax returns filed. Of those, 424 people chose to pay the higher tax rate, meaning that 1, 539,576 didn’t feel any particular moral obligation to pay more than the absolute minimum. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that those 424 people — whose income averaged about $20,000 a year — didn’t include folks like Ted Kennedy, John Kennedy, Barney Frank, Deval Patrick, or any other prominent Massachusetts politician.

Remember, Massachusetts is the bluest of the blue states. Democrats hold both US Senate seats, every US House seat, the governorship, every other statewide elected office, and over 87% of each House of the state legislature. The highest-ranking Republican is the Senate Minority Leader — he leads four other Republicans in a body of 40 legislators. In the House, the Republicans hold 19 of 160 seats. In brief, the Democrats own Massachusetts, lock, stock, and barrel.

And in that bluest of blue states, one would think that Democratic ideals and values would be rampant. Instead, what is most obvious is the flagrant hypocrisy — when given the chance to pay more in taxes, to give more to the state to perpetuate the goodness that only the government can provide, less than one-fortieth of one percent are willing to literally put their money where their mouth is.

Perhaps Senator Biden could take a trip up to Massachusetts and ask them what the hell is wrong with them. Don’t they understand that it’s their patriotic — and religious — duty to pay more in taxes?

Or, at least, call up some of his colleagues in Massachusetts’ congressional delegation and ask them what the hell is wrong with their state?

Ryder Cup blogging
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