‘Where one party rules, tyranny follows.’ – Alan Gottlieb, Chairman, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

☞ The context of this statement was a fundraising letter to New Yorkers. ‘It’s up to you to save the gun rights of every New Yorker,’ it began. ‘After 28 years as Chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,’ he was ‘scared to death’ when ‘the anti-gun Democrats seized nearly every statewide office’ in New York (well, not the governorship). The latest threat? ‘A Democrat Assembly bill forcing you to buy and install trigger locks on your handguns and rifles so that they can’t be used when needed for protection.’ (That’s exactly the goal of the trigger locks, I’m sure – not to reduce accidents, but to render you powerless the next time in the course of city living you would normally fire your rifle at someone.) ‘As you can see,’ Gottlieb writes, ‘NEW YORK IS IN A GUN CONTROL CRISIS!

Of course, all I could think of when I read this letter – “Where one party rules, tyranny follows” – is that one party controls the House, the Senate, the White House and, saddest of all, the Supreme Court.  I don’t think tyranny will follow; I think you’ll all send me checks for the Democratic National Committee and we’ll restore some checks and balances in 2002.

“The Bushes’ tax cuts have bankrupted Texas and Florida.  Is the country next?” — The New Republic cover line, April 2, 2001

☞ This is really interesting.  Floridians, of whom I am one, pay no income tax.  We do have an annoying “intangible property tax,” which is two-tenths of one percent of your stocks and bonds, basically — $2,000 for every million you’ve got (but not, if I remember right, cash or retirement plan assets or Treasuries or Florida municipals).  Of course, this only applies to rich folks – someone with essentially no wealth pays no tax.  (There is even an exemption for the first $20,000 or so.)  And for rich folks, it means that instead of growing their wealth at, say 6.8% a year, they might grow it at 6.6%.  Still beats the pants off having to pay an income tax (or having to be poor).

I was happy to see that Jeb Bush, my governor, cut my tax in half this year, from two-tenths of one percent to one-tenth.   But as I was enjoying this Bushian windfall for the rich, I was wondering:

  • Do I actually need this tax break?  No.
  • Is Florida running a surplus?  No.
  • Might it be more fair to cut the sales tax a bit, which everybody pays, rather than halve taxes on the rich?  Yes.
  • Is the Republican Party not extraordinary in its success at getting elected by a majority (or a near-majority) when it is so focused on improving the lot of a few? Yes.

“The problem with making a large tax cut our nation’s top priority, rather than saving Social Security first, is that it may be far more difficult to save Social Security later.” – Clinton national economic advisor Gene Sperling writing in the New York Times, March 21, 2001

Few things are as important to the president, or his brother, as tax cuts for the wealthy.

“President Bush’s budget . . . raises the prospect not merely of mainly benefiting those already at the top of the income heap but also of doing so directly at the poor’s expense.” —Washington Post editorial 4/17/01 (“A Squeeze on the Poor”)

☞ Well, the money’s got to come from somewhere.


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