#413, June 12, 2006
COLUMBUS: There’s some good news from Iraq. Al-Zarqawi got bombed and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving fellow.
Zarqawi is dead, so al-Qaida kinda called a political convention to vote on a new leader. A dark horse candidate won because all the front-runners dropped out. They dropped out when they heard the autopsy report on Zarqari. If you think walking for months through snow drifts in New Hampshire is enough to slow down a man’s presidential ambitions, consider the prospect of having a 500-pound bomb dropped on your head. Three men were so afraid of being drafted for the office they committed suicide.
It seems this new terrorist leader is a man nobody had ever heard of or seen before. I think he goes by the name Abu al-Stupo. If he’s smart he’ll head directly for a deep cave in Pakistan.
Hurricane season just opened, and Florida bagged the first one. It’s kinda puny as hurricanes go, but it’s got a name: Alberto (or is it al-Berto?). As of Monday night it’s blowing 70 miles an hour. Most of Florida actually wants the storm to land because they need the rain to put out grass fires. Besides, anything in Florida that can’t handle a little wind is already flattened or blown clear to Georgia. You could tell that some of these national television folks were downright disappointed it headed to Tampa and not New Orleans.
The Senate voted on the Estate tax. The two sides couldn’t be farther apart on the tax: Republicans want to eliminate it, and Democrats want to make it 100 percent (see historic quote). The way they decided the vote was that each multi-billionaire in this country was paired up, one-on-one, with a Senator, at least the Senators that claim Republican heritage. There’s only 55 men living in the whole country who stand to gain from the bill, and they needed 60 votes to overcome a filibuster by Democrats. So it looks like they fell 5 billionaires short.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
(From Will’s weekly radio show…)
“Treasury Secretary Morgenthau (under FDR) has come out with a plan to put a bigger and better tax on these big estates, these tremendous estates. An inheritance tax, that is, on a man who died. And on an estate of say $10 million, why the government will take about 90 percent of it, and then giving the offspring 10. And then on estates of 100 million, 200 million, a billion, and like that, well, the government just takes all of that and notifies the heirs, ‘Your father died a pauper here today. And he’s being buried by the M. E. B. A.; that is the Millionaires’ Emergency Burial Association.’
Now mind you, I don’t hold any great grief for a man that dies and leaves millions and hundreds of millions and billions. I don’t mean that. But I don’t believe Mr. Morgenthau’s plan will work because he gives figures that shows what this new inheritance tax would bring in every year. He says in 1936 we get so much, in 1938 so much… He gives these figures to show what it will bring in every year. That is, as long as the Democrats stay in.
He seems to know just who’s going to die each year. And how much they’re going to leave. Now, brother, that’s planning. Now suppose, for instance, he’s got scheduled to die J. P. Morgan. He’s got him scheduled to die on a certain year. And you can bet, if they can arrange it, they’ll have him die while the Democrats are in, so they can get the benefit of that estate.
Now, according to plan, J. P. Morgan’s got to die in order for Mr. Morgenthau to reach his quota for that year. Now Mr. Morgan is a nice man, a very able, nice fellow. And I think his patriotism might compare with some of the rest of us, but whether he’d be patriotic enough to want to die on this year’s schedule or not, just to make Morgenthau’s budget balance… I mean, that’s asking a good deal of a man to just die right off just so I can balance my budget. He might be rather unreasonable and not want to do it.
I say, old men is contrary, you know what I mean? And rich old men is awful contrary. They’ve had their own way so long.
So in order for Mr. Morgenthau’s plan to work out, well, to work out a hundred percent, he’s got to bump these wealthy guys off, or something. Well now, the government’s doing everything else, you know, but there IS a Humane Society.” Radio, April 28, 1935
“I don’t see why a man shouldn’t pay an inheritance tax. If a Country is good enough to pay taxes to while you are living, it’s good enough to pay in after you die. By the time you die you should be so used to paying taxes that it would just be almost second nature to you.” WA #168, Feb. 28, 1926