Weekly Comments Archive
Archived Issue
Sunday, April 13, 2014
ISSUE #796
Taxes, grazing fees and healthcare

Secretary Sebelius got the healthcare website fixed (finally), then resigned. She was criticized mercilessly when the website was not ready to handle thousands of applicants on October 1. After all, she had since March 2010 to get it designed and running.
Well, not really. Yes, the bill was signed four years ago, but President Obama did not want any rules determined until after the November 2012 election. Computer geeks can build a major website in a few months, but giving them three years would have made it a snap.
The Senate will interview the new nominee. Many questions will be asked: Of the 7.5 million who signed on to healthcare, how many have paid for their insurance? How many of them were previously uninsured? How many of the 7.5 million lost their insurance because of Obamacare?
Who will ask these questions? The nominee, Sylvia Burwell. You better believe she is smart. She won’t accept the job without knowing the starting point. Of course, Senators will ask the same questions, but just for publicity purposes.
I’ve been watching on TV about the rancher in Nevada who refused to pay a fee to the government so his cattle can graze on federal land. In fact he hasn’t paid in twenty years. Ranchers out West have been paying these fees for decades and if fat cattle bring a good price, it’s not a bad deal. Currently they pay about $20 to graze a steer all year.
Have you seen that dry, desolate land in Nevada? I have less sympathy for the rancher than I do the cattle. Asking a cow to walk two miles to find a blade of grass is downright cruelty to animals.
The real argument out West is, why does the government own so much land? In Nevada it’s 85%.  The feds ought to sell half to ranchers or anyone else that wants a patch of it. Keep just enough land for military bases, parks and turtles. It won’t bring much, but might reduce the deficit a smidgen.
I finished my income tax return. I guess I should be proud because, based on news reports, I’m paying the same percentage as Warren Buffett. My return went to the IRS office in Cincinnati. It should be accepted; Lois Lerner retired. And I was careful to claim no deductions for any food items, especially tea.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers: (on taxes)
“The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.”
 WA #17, April 8, 1923 (also WA #99, Nov. 2, 1924)
 “The crime of taxation is not in the taking it, it’s in the way that it’s spent.” DT #1764, March 20, 1932
 “Our financial ills will never be settled till you fix it so every man will pay an income tax on what he earns, be it a farm, grocery store or municipal or government bonds.” DT #2068 March 21, 1933
 “It costs ten times more to govern us than it used to, and we are not governed one-tenth as good.” DT #1770, March 27, 1932
  “Finding things to tax is becoming quite a problem. You see when taxes first started, (who started ’em anyhow?) Noah must have taken into the ark two taxes, one male and one female, and did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific of animals.” WA #594, May 13, 1934
 “Say did you read in the papers about a bunch of Women up in British Columbia as a protest against high taxes, sit out in the open naked, and they wouldent put their clothes on? The authorities finally turned a Sprayer that you use on trees, on ’em. That may lead into quite a thing. Woman comes into the tax office nude, saying I won’t pay. Well they can’t search her and get anything. It sounds great. How far is it to British Columbia?” WA #432, April 5, 1931
 “I see by the papers that they are going to do away with all the nuisance taxes. That means that a man can get a marriage license for nothing.” WA #59, Jan. 27, 1924


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