Mourning In America

A New York Democrat on politics, journalism, and the Mets

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Friday, February 06, 2004
Unfortunate Bedfellows Paul Craig Roberts, Sen. Charles Schumer's co-author for the anti-trade column I discussed last month apparently has some further misguided ideas. Check out his take on the U.S. tax system (courtesy of Eugene Volokh):
Compare an American taxpayer's situation today with that of a 19th century American slave. Not all slaves worked on cotton plantations. Some with marketable skills were leased to businesses or released to labor markets, where they worked for money wages. Just like the wages of today's taxpayer, a portion of the slave's money wages was withheld. In those days the private owner, not the government, received the withheld portion of the slave's wages.

Slaves in that situation were as free as today's American taxpayer to choose their housing from the available stock, purchase their food and clothing, and entertain themselves.

In fact, they were freer than today's American taxpayer. By hard work and thrift, they could save enough to purchase their freedom.

No American today can purchase his freedom from the IRS.

Slaves could also run away. Today, Americans who run away are pursued to the far ends of the earth. Indeed, the IRS can assert its ownership rights for years after an American gives up his citizenship and becomes a citizen of a different country.

Schumer obviously doesn't believe any of this, but I'm guessing he's regretting becoming associated with Roberts in any way...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Travel [B]Log Overheard on American Airlines flight 1918, service from Austin to Dallas, yesterday afternoon: "well, if you ask me, I think this whole Janet Jackson thing was cooked up by MTV just to stick it in the eye of Christians."

Who Says Texas Lacks Culture?: Health-conscious travelers darting through Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport might think twice about ordering Au Bon Pain's "fields and fets wrap" and taking it on the plane. Apparently, in Texas "Field Greens" is defined as "Iceberg Lettuce," which, in addition to lacking the taste of, say, mesclun, has a high water content, which rendered the wrap's wrapping gluey.

Community Standards The public-access Internet terminals at DFW Airport block users from accessing Josh Marshall's Talking Points Memo and Kevin Drum's Calpundit. Users who seek to view the sites receive this message: "Access to this Site is Restricted Because of Content." I guess liberal views violate Texans' standards of decency. [Yes, I know there's a Janet Jackson joke waiting to be made there, but I can't quite figure it out right now, and I need to get back to work. Feel free to e-mail me with suggestions and I'll post the winners.]