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4/7/09

At last, an Honest politician




In Illinois, an honest politician is as rare as a ski slope. But I have come across a most unlikely one, none other than Cook County Board President Todd Stroger.
Well, at least he is honest sometimes. Ok, hardly ever, but this story is about one of his ski slope moments.

There was an article, actually it was even smaller than a blurb, in the Chicago Tribune the other day which described a "Great moment of candor", according to the unnamed author. The piece was a report on comments Stroger made during a radio interview on WGN-AM 720 last Wednesday morning concerning rising taxes on cigarettes.

Host John Williams asked: "Isn’t it unfair to keep targeting smokers with tax increases"?

Stroger: "That is the American way". "And the way that it’s generally done is, you find some group that’s small enough where they can’t beat you up, and you tax them and you tell everybody else, ‘See? We didn’t tax you.’"

The answer doesn’t say much for his political acumen but it says volumes about his (probably unintended) candor. This isn’t actually a revelation to anyone hearing that comment, but it should be trumpeted anyway because the concept needs a fresh start in these times of "hopeful change".

There are so many concepts here to expand on and directions this story could go that it’s making my head spin with all the delicious possibilities. Perhaps I will expand on them in a future essay, but for now I am just like a first time Hi Def TV buyer, I just want one right now, I’ll worry about the number of screen pixels after I get it home.
You can read the blurb here.

5 comments:

Sara said...

Thanks for sharing. I posted this story to Digg, Facebook and Twitter.

Silverback Trader said...

Thanks for passing it along, I hope people enjoy it.

Sara said...

I am following the CME Group on Twitter these days. They just "tweeted" this link regarding the top young economists in the world: http://economiclogic.blogspot.com/2009/04/best-young-economists.html
Thought you might be interested.

Anonymous said...

Why do Americans accept the notion of "the congressional black caucus" spouting their opinion on things like Castro, Cuba, whatever....?
Previous generations referred to America as a melting pot.
Maybe they should amend the constitution and have 2 congresses, one for blacks and one for whites.
There is a class/race war going on here. If it were any more obvious they would have to hit American over the head with it.
WAKE UP AMERICA/USSA.
Oops I spoke the truth, somebody might slap me with a race card!!

Silverback Trader said...

There is certainly a number of issues and concepts addressed in your post which deserve thoughtful analysis and comment. It's a pity that fear of being called a racist is an unpleasant deterrent to open conversation on matters of importance, like how we relate to one another as human beings.

Regarding some of the concepts you touched upon;
There is certainly a historical societal double standard on many groups, for various reasons which grates on different people depending on their perspective. For instance, if a person of color disagrees with the goals and tactics of a group such as the Congressional Black Caucus, he/she may resent the implication that that group represents him/her. Likewise people of other races may resent any group that has a name that, if turned around, would sound racist or exclusionary. I would cite a group with a name like, The United Negro College Fund. A fine group, IMO. But if there was a United White College Fund, there would be an uproar. It's all in the name.

People who are in the minority, or who otherwise think they need to band together to help themselves often form these groups. It is nothing new. It would be naive to think that ethnic groups in the "melting pot" haven't always formed together. Historically there have been German Clubs, Irish Clubs, Jewish Clubs and the like which had as their primary purpose helping "their own" to the exclusion of others. It is also not rare for such groups to use government power to enhance themselves. Every city has had groups that did so, Chicago is just one of them. Think of Irish Police societies, Polish people gaining political clout, Mayor Daley and his cronies' recently exposed Latin American hold on hiring in Streets and Sanitation where people are currently going to prison for their roles.

I bet you can think of many other such groups if you try. So the assertion that previous generations embraced some "melting pot" as the ideal while banding together to exclude others seems quaint to me. As human nature has it, Utopia is not an option.
I would just label the Black Congressional Caucus a leftist group on the Castro thing you referenced. Even leftists are entitled to spout their opinions, even if they are totally ludicrous IMO.

On another idea you advance, I agree in part. Namely, that there is a divide which is getting wider. And I believe it is purposeful on the part of those currently in power in order to advance their socialistic agenda. But I do not think it is race based. Not that there is any shortage of race pimps who benefit from continued division along those lines. But rather that it is class based as you have opined. The classes they are trying to divide are those who pay taxes vs. those who receive the spoils of the plunder.

Never before in our history has there been a greater number of people who do not pay (income) taxes and therefore do not oppose, but actively support tax hikes for obvious reasons. For that reason (among others), it is my opinion that everyone in society should pay taxes based on a flat percentage so we all have a stake in things. There is a great deal more to be said and considered on these concepts, but this particular post is long enough already.

So while your frustration is understandable, I simply disagree with it on some points. I'm also a tad puzzled by the lack of connection to the post about the Board President blurting out the truth about taxes. But I am happy you brought it up so it could be discussed. Thanks for participating, I hope you continue to do so.
All of this is of course, what I think, and why.