Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler is talking these days about the massive transfer of tax revenue from Democratic-leaning states to Republican states, many of them in the South. And Atrios has (facetiously) said this:

I suggest the Democrats first major legislative proposal, complete with press conferences, laser show, hunger strike, whatever, is the "Tax Fairness Act of 2005." This Act would mandate that, within some reasonable margin of error, your state should get as much back from the feds as is sent to them in taxes. It's time to end this kind of geographic welfare!

Just to rattle some cages, I think we should go for it. And why wait for congressional Democrats? Let's draft a constitutional amendment requiring that no state pay out in federal taxes more than 105% of what it gets in return in any year -- and that no state receive more than 105%. Let's tap into this year's campaign energy -- start petition drives, make it a grassroots movement.

And, even though it's a bit of an oversimplification, maybe we ought to start referring to the inequity by an in-your-face name:

The Southern Tax.

Screw 'em -- if they can talk about "Massachusetts liberals" (not to mention suggesting, as the Club for Growth did last winter, that a certain presidential candidate should "take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont"), why can't we talk about this in regional terms?

I can see the bumper stickers now : REPEAL THE SOUTHERN TAX. Yeah, some of them will be on Volvos. But what will Southerners say in response? "Our states are poor -- we need the money more"? The only proper response to that is throwing one of the right wing's favorite lines back in their faces: What are you, socialists? Typical socialist thinking: We should reward failure and punish success!

Conservatives, especially those from the South, operate on the assumption that they can always accuse us of having interests that run contrary to the best interests of America -- and that we won't (can't) say the same about them. Maybe it's time we gave them a taste of their own medicine.

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