Classy Warfare

My favorite off-the-map Member of Congress, Loomis Beechly, is apparently dipping his toe in the presidential pool. Which only makes sense, since he represents all of Minnesota’s water surface area. He sent out this provocative e-mail late last night:

Greetings to all my 9th district constituents, and congratulations on once again making it to that time of year when all the visitors go home and we have the beautiful waters of Minnesota to ourselves!

It is encouraging to see the success that one member of my state’s congressional delegation, Michele Bachmann, is having on the national political stage. True, a lot of the pundits are saying she’s a bit careless with the facts and the scuttlebutt is that her campaign is on the decline, but the truth of the matter is this: they’re still talking about her! As long as you’ve got that, you’ve got a chance.

But the main thing you have to do when you’re running for the top office is show people you have serious, common-sense, popular ideas for fixing all the things that are wrong with our country! Bachmann is great on presence and passion, but she’s lacking a plan.

Congressman Beechly reaches out to floaters in his district

I don’t have her fiery attitude and camera-ready hair, but I do have a great strategy to get us past the horrible, agonizing “tax the rich” vs. “no new taxes” show down we went through in Minnesota this past summer and are about to re-live on a national, (some would say nuclear) scale.

My idea?

Tax happy people.

That’s it. That’s my whole plan.

Happy people should pay through the nose to get us out of this mess. This works much better than “tax the rich” because wealthy people fight back and they have the means to win every time. Happy people, by contrast, come from all points along the economic spectrum and while some of them might have the resources to mount a counter-attack against a new tax burden, why would they waste their time? Clearly they’ve got something special going on in their lives – something that makes them happy. Better to concentrate on that than to ruin your day by thinking about stuff the government is doing!

Some will say this idea doesn’t have a chance because Tea Party Republicans will oppose any tax of any kind on anyone. Possibly. But what I see developing is an endless confrontation where the two sides try to shift most of our financial burden onto the strongest supporters of the other side. Democrats want the bill to be picked up by well-to-do Republican donors. Republicans want loyal Democrats in organized labor and education to shoulder the burden. Tea Party Republicans? I don’t know what they want, but I’m pretty sure that none of them are happy. So if they could be convinced to support any form of new revenue, the “Happy Tax” has the best chance with them.

Who are the happy? I think we all know. And really, let’s face it. Nobody who is paying attention to the state of the world today cares very much for happy people. Their buoyant spirits just make us angry, so let’s tax them to the hilt! Chances are, they’ll keep on smiling.

I’m not saying this great idea qualifies me to be president. But you may say it if you wish, even though it most definitely will not make me happy.

Sincerely,

Loomis Beechly
Your Congressman

Great plan, but how could we measure taxable happiness?

48 thoughts on “Classy Warfare”

  1. I think the Babooners for the most part would feel this pretty heavily, might even make them unhappy, except for me. I would get a big rebate.

    Wait a mo: if you tax the happy heavily, don’t you make then make them unhappy, mreaning you have to give them their money back, which will make them happy, which means they are happy, which means you tax them, which means . .

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    1. Good point!

      I can’t imagine how to measure happiness, unless it’s by the direct, just ask `em method. Which would mean that I’m about to get taxed more. Yikes!

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  2. Rise and Be Dour so You Don’t Lose $$$$!

    Well, let’s see. There is the ever popular smile said to indicate happiness–with all the face recognition technology we could each have a Big Brother Gizmo that counted face muscle action and smiling. Go over 3 smiles in a day and you are TAXED!

    Then there blog participation could be measured- travelling to joke sites, cheerful sites such as the Trail, or sites with beautiful pictures. More than 3 of those and you are TAXED!

    Meditation and Mindfulness exercises are said to create serenity and perhaps HAPPINESS. More than 3 minutes of that and you are TAXED!

    So there is a plan Rep. Beechley. You have a bright future. But don’t get too happy about that. Or, well you know….

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      1. I think this is nothing more than a push for Gay Marriage, because Gay means happy, right? Tax ‘em, tax ‘em, tax ‘em, and let Target laugh all the way to the bridal registry.

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    1. Jacque, I usually don’t have any problem being dour, so I’m not in much danger of getting hit by the happy tax. Babooners do seem to have a nack for taking a light approach to just about any topic, including some fairly heavy ones. I think Dale deserves a lot of credit for the good spirited approach found here. It is a struggle for a grumpy person, like me, to stay on the light side, but I do appreciate the light hearted approach found here and try to avoid making any bad humored comments.

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  3. Good morning to all,

    Well, I’m not sure that there is any way to select the happy people and tax them, so Beechly might be a little off mark with his tax plan. Still, that might be a way to do it. We could give his plan a try by doing it as a fund raising drive where we ask the public to help the country out by contributing to the Happy to be an American fund. The slogan could be, “help America get happy”.

    There would a goal set to raise a certain amount of money and there would be a day of celebration planned when the goal is reached. I would assume that only people who are happy or want to be happy would make contributions. Grumpy people wouldn’t make any contribution because they don’t want a happy country, but a fund devoted to getting happy certainly would not turn down contributions from any one including grumpy people.

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    1. I guess a fund raising drive is not a way of taxing people. Well, when you can’t raise taxes, fund raising drives might be what is needed. How about holding big country wide bake sale to balance the budget?

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  4. How about a tomato tax-the more tomatoes and the bigger tomatoes on your vines, the more taxes you owe. We grew a few Brandywine tomatoes this year, an Amish heirloom tomato, and while there aren’t many tomatoes on the vines, each one weighs almost a pound. I have never seen such huge tomatoes and they have a lovely taste.

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    1. I grow these from seeds every year. They are a wonderful treat. We only had a few due adverse weather conditions. WHICH MADE ME VERY UNHAPPY. Phew. Dodged a few dollars there.

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      1. Rep Beechly-Your plan will be seriously opposed by “Big Pharma.” IF happiness is taxed then sales of Zoloft, Paxil,etc will plummet. Manufacturers of those products will not be taxed but they will be too unhappy with their lost profits to enjoy the tax freedom. The ninth will also be affected. Antidepressants are one of the most common substances found in lake water. IF folks stop taking them in order to pay less to the gumnint just think how unhappy the fish will be. Your re-election chances will plummet like (outlawed) lead sinkers if the fish stop biting.

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  5. It may also work to tax people on the number of closets they have in their homes. Who isn’t happy with lots of storage space?

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  6. If there is a Happy Tax, will that mean the end of all the “postive speech” (it’s not a problem, it;s an OPPORTUNITY) that has been in vogue for longer than its sell-by date.

    Even if it doesn’t generate the desired revenue, it might make for more honest communication and some real facing up to problems.

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    1. “Besides, the constant effort of maintaining optimism in the face of considerable counterevidence is just too damn much work. Optimism training, affirmations and related forms of self-hypnosis are a burden that we can finally, in good conscience, set down. They won’t make you richer or healthier, and, as we should have learned by now, they can easily put you in harm’s way. The threats that we face, individually and collectively, won’t be solved by wishful thinking but by a clear-eyed commitment to taking action in the world.”

      – Barbara Ehrenreich

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  7. I’ve heard “ignorance is bliss”, so you could try taxing the ignorant. This could really open up a can of worms (ok in the 9th district, I suppose) as you start dealing with IQs and such.

    Gotta run – have a great day, Babooners.

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  8. I’m grumpy and a little spiteful today. I guess I’m safe from taxation too!

    Some people seem to be very happy and self-satisfied. While some happy folks are able to keep their level of contentment to themselves, others seem to feel that if the whole world was just like them all of the problems would be solved. They go out of their way to insist that everyone else adopt their lifestyles and attitudes.These are the happy folks that should be taxed. We can identify them by the number of times per day they use the words, “You should…”

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  9. A little Cliffy: the happiest place on earth is, by survey, Denmark, which has one of the highest taxation rates. Switzerland and Iceland are also highly taxed and score very happy.

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    1. I visited with a man who was born in Denmark. He said there are a lot of happy people in Denmark, but they were all back in Denmark and he wasn’t one of them. Clarks Grove, where I live, was founded by Danes and I think they included some of the unhappy ones who might have left because they were not a good fit for their happy native land. The Clarks Grove founders were Danish Baptists who were opposed to drinking and dancing.

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      1. This reminds me of the “Many Faces of Darth Vadar” t-shirt we saw at the Fair. All the same face, each captioned with a different emotion.

        Same thing might apply to the Scandanavians-they all have an implacable calm look, so the assumption is, must be happy, and then they tax accordingly.

        If it works, it works.

        I miss the old Danes I grew up amongst (and the food).

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      2. mig, there’s also a greeting card with 9 identical, happy looking golden retrievers on the front, each with wildly different emotions printed underneath… Goldens would be highly taxed, I think.

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      3. I don’t know much about the Danes and I’m don’t know where the Danish Baptist church fits into Danish history. I do know that they are apposed to drinking and dancing which doesn’t seem like a happy approach to life to me. In Clarks Grove, I think they aren’t as strict about apposing drinking and dancing as they once were.

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      4. There was a considerable amount of strife between different Danish Lutheran sects in the early 20th century in the US, and some of them were actually referred to as the “Happy Danes”, in contrast to their less happy bretheran. I forget the details of the religious differences.

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      5. Some of the Happy Danes ended up in west central Iowa, where my daughter did her pastoral internship. The Rhame/Bowman area has some Danes, but I do not think they name them as coming from the Happy Danes.
        “Babette’s Feast” is a great movie. Own the DVD and watch it every six months or so to remind me how to properly see creation and my faith at work..
        I was in B & N this morning feeling sorry for myself. Next to me was a blind man. Two women were interviewing him for some reason. He told stories about all the accidents he has had walking into things, but he made them funny, broken bones and all–laughing and laughing. He told them all the adventures he seeks out. Just one story: a man takes him out in a field and lets him drive an 18 wheeler. I did not connect it to “Babette’s Feast until our Danish Babooner mentioned. Thanks.

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  10. The more strict Danish Lutheran sects (Indremissionske) are found mainly in the western part of Jutland. Their life style is beautifully depicted in Babette’s Feast, but there aren’t many of them left.

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  11. Today would, thus far, be a low tax day for me as well. Too many plates spinning at work for happiness…although as one friend points out to me on a regular basis when I start worrying about things like, “what have I done lately to save the world” or “why aren’t I making more money” or “I still haven’t written the Great American Novel,” I get a firm, “yes, but you’re still happy. I know you – you’re always happy…even when you’re cranky.” Darned if she isn’t right. Dang it. High taxes here I come…

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  12. i have been thinking about this today and the difference between the hppy and the rich is that the happy want to spread it around and the more you give th more you get back. the word would be so much better off if everyone had the same motovation and desires as the happy sect. if the people who are the most happy were taxed on their hapiness and required to share their happy moments to help others to share the wealth of happiness that is out there. it would be a happier place. accordingly if the money out there is all there is and the diveying up of the available is the idea this creates a monopoly like mentality where i want more and in order for me to get more i have to see to it you have less, then i win, if the dali lahma tells us our number one goal is to happy and the more happiness you experience the more successful you are then you address your goals for the day in a different fashion. if your criteria as to how you choose to spend your time is based on the decision to make the world a happier place what would you do? i think the third world countries sometimes wonder if in order to be happy in america you must work very hard and be away form your family from 6 in the morning until 8 at night in order to make progress and do the best you can do.
    it is interesting that if the tax we are discussing is based on sharing your happiness i am positive nobidy would object to sharing all the happiness they possess. if it meant you took it away and left the taxpayer with less maybe that would be different but that is not the way happiness works is it?
    i heard the quote on the radio today from warren buffet saying he was disappionted that with no tax shelters he pays less money than his 55,000 a year office manager percentage wise. he beieves that this should not be. if every success you make in life makes others more successful to the world is always cheering for evryone to do better.
    if we have happiness havens in the grand bahamas the vaults locked up and protected from government intervention would be a waste. i am not sure that the money that is collected to pay the taxes really helps make the world a better place, military expense and wasted government expense are often cited as the objection to the spending by liberals handouts and supporting people i don’t like seems to be the problem for right wing tax dissadents. it would never be a problem to have someone who was unintended get a smile and enjoyment from your happiness and i think the same would be true of dollars if the idea were allowed to be played out fully.
    if the federal reserve decided to offer happiness at a level to help restore greatest happiness without government intervention and to keep it there until we hit full tult prosperity and happiness no matter what it took, we would understand that the decisions were upto us as to how to go forward. with the feddeciding how to redistribut the long therm happiness vs the short term happiness and keeping a healty ballance we woud all be pleased to have someone looking out for our interests. no arguements about how they are trying to distrivbute too much happiness .
    how would you line list you happiness deductions to make sure you didn’t have to share? i will withhold happiness realized in business related interactions? family should be tax free for sure. oh hell lets make it straight tax. everyone gives a straight 10% i do like kane, the republican black pizza guys 9,9,9 rule. if god gets 10% the us government can get by with 9%
    i had some fun formulas for coumpond interest to be paid on past due ballances but i believe this topic shoud be kept as simple as possible.

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    1. Fiddler Jones from Spoon River Anthology
      THE EARTH keeps some vibration going
      There in your heart, and that is you.
      And if the people find you can fiddle,
      Why, fiddle you must, for all your life.
      What do you see, a harvest of clover?
      Or a meadow to walk through to the river?
      The wind’s in the corn; you rub your hands
      For beeves hereafter ready for market;
      Or else you hear the rustle of skirts
      Like the girls when dancing at Little Grove.
      To Cooney Potter a pillar of dust
      Or whirling leaves meant ruinous drouth;
      They looked to me like Red-Head Sammy
      Stepping it off, to “Toor-a-Loor.”
      How could I till my forty acres
      Not to speak of getting more,
      With a medley of horns, bassoons and piccolos
      Stirred in my brain by crows and robins
      And the creak of a wind-mill—only these?
      And I never started to plow in my life
      That some one did not stop in the road
      And take me away to a dance or picnic.
      I ended up with forty acres;
      I ended up with a broken fiddle—
      And a broken laugh, and a thousand memories,
      And not a single regret.

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      1. i have irish relative from up in the fargo part of the world where they had farming to do but the flute and the social aspect of life led to headlights on the tractor so the harvesting could be done after the drinking was done and the storytelling and the passing on the word was the most sacred ritual on the prarie. they loved all the parts of life they figured out how to work around one to get to the other. if you work the fields til you re done the bars will be closed. the field will be there any old time. that side of the family still has good funerals but as the old timers die and the heratige gets watered down the open celebration of life does too. we are all so carefill not to be too anything these days. all things in moderation i say, especially moderation. i do miss the poetic way the old guys would sing the song of life for us all to hear. they knew if they didn’t tell us no one else would for sure. maybe that can be the baboon role. the singer of baboon songs and the warren buffet attitude that its ok to tax my singing and happiness to the fullest. i want legacy to be one who has paid my fair share of happiness and song tax.

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