Monday, November 28, 2016

Abolition of all internal taxes

The British tax people have discovered of a new tax source.  The smiling face of the head tax man Phillip Hammond appearing prominently in this article:

I thought of the Beatles song while reading it.  By coincidental contrast I've been reading Henry Adams First Administration of Jefferson.  Jefferson was a Republican who didn't believe in a strong executive, the examples of strong monarch's in European nations were too powerful a threat for him to think otherwise, and yet there he was, President of the United States, and someone needed to be in charge.  He wasn't being hypocritical in exercising more power than he believed the U.S. president ought to have, but in doing what he believed was right he was indeed exercising the power available to him as president.  In 1801 he did something that would be anathema to Phillip Hammond.  He abolished all internal taxes.

Actually what Jefferson did would be anathema to most American politicians as well.  Maybe modern day Republicans would lean a bit more in his direction, but they wouldn't abolish all internal taxes.  Trump as Bush (the younger) and Reagan before him intends to lower taxes, but no one today suggests that government can do without something from each one of us.  And the Federalists of Jefferson's day, a minority in congress but possessing the best orators, were very uncomfortable with Jefferson's decision.  However, as Adams writes on page 184 of the Library of America edition, "Resistance to the abolition of taxes was impossible after the promise which the President's Message held out.  The Federalists themselves had made peace with France, and hostilities between France and England had ceased.  For the first time in ten years no danger of foreign war was apparent, and if the Administration offered to effect economies in the public service, Congress could hardly deny that economies were possible."

I need to read ahead to discover whether all taxes were indeed abolished.  If so where did Jefferson get the money later on to purchase the Louisiana territory from Napoleon, and wouldn't Jefferson have been better off beefing up the U.S. military in accordance with Federalist wishes?  Had they done so the War of 1812 wouldn't have been such an iffy thing.  Indeed the U.S. might well have accomplished the goals of some politicians at the time (not Jefferson) and conquered Canada; which would mean that instead of hoping to move to Northern Idaho I might today be considering a move to British Colombia -- or maybe not.  I suspect everyone up there would have voted for Hillary and our own Tax Man would be scouring records of our incomes to find new things to tax.

In the meantime my favorite hiking area, the usually dry riverbed of the San Jacinto River has been inundated by "street people."  I've been referring to them as trolls since there is no "street" down there, and the first ones that interfered with my hiking activities lived under a bridge.  The last time I was down there, hiking through some brush not hitherto inhabited by trolls, my dogs veered off to some bushes.  I stopped and looked back and there was a little man with some binoculars staring off toward the south levee.    Without looking at me he said, "ah ha.  You walked right by me without seeing me.  Your dogs saw me, but you never did." 

I found that a curious thing for him to say but only asked, "are you staying here."  He answered, "Yep, I'm one of them"; which made it sound as though he and the others were getting criticism from somewhere.  I asked, "are you from Riverside"?  I had heard that the street people in Riverside had been chased out of the parks they had been camping in.  He said, "nope.  I was destined for this life six months ago."  I didn't ask him where he was getting money to live on.  Living off of the land clearly wasn't possible at the river.  Was he getting enough government support (from internal taxes) to go down from the river to Stater Bros and buy groceries? 

Jessica, my energetic seven-month old Irish Terrier was jumping up on him for attention.  He didn't put his hands on her, needing both of them to hold his field glasses, but he turned sideways.  Having been jumped on by her myself I knew it wasn't a pleasant experience; so I called her and we went on. 

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