The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

For Harry Reid, is it 1974 all over again?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to shift the debate in this election from “who is more likely to improve this nation's economy” to Mitt Romney's keeping his tax returns private — a red herring if ever there was one. But apparently this is not the first time he's used tax return privacy as an excuse to make points in an election campaign. It's how Reid got into the Senate in 1974. A posting by Carl M. Cannon that I read yeasterday on the Real Clear Politics site states:

Reid first ran for the U.S. Senate 38 years ago against Paul Laxalt, a former Nevada governor. Laxalt was popular, but 1974 was a terrible year for Republican candidates. Tied in the polls, Reid concocted an October surprise: He handed out to the press a packet of financial statements and tax returns from him and his three brothers — and called on Laxalt, who owned an interest in a casino — and his family — to do likewise.

“Any man or woman who will not be completely candid about his or her finances does not deserve to be in public office," Reid said, according to a contemporaneous wire service account. And he foreshadowed his recent attack on Romney by asserting that Laxalt had paid no income taxes in some years.

This claim turned out to be true, but that was because Laxalt had suffered business losses the previous two years. But Laxalt took Reid up on his gambit, disclosing financial information that not only showed his net worth had decreased while in the governor’s office, but that his family was clean.

“I made a real stink about it, insisting that Laxalt’s whole family disclose their finances,” Reid recalled in his 2008 autobiography. “To my embarrassment, Laxalt complied. Why yes, he said, my sister the nun who had taken a vow of poverty would be more than happy to inventory her meager finances.”

Reid’s self-assessment about leading with your chin when it comes to an opponent’s taxes: “It made me look bad,” he said then.

Nevertheless, nearly four decades later he’s doing it again on behalf of the president of the United States.

Well, let's keep our mind on what is important — our nation's economy and who is best qualified to fix it — not how many tax returns Mitt Romney has made public.

The best summary of what this 2012 election about is what Mitt Romney said this past Sunday on CNN:

The great majority of small businesses pay taxes at the individual rate so as he raises these taxes “on the wealthy” he is raising taxes on small business. That kills jobs.

If your priority in this country is to punish success vote for President Obama; if you priority is to create more success and more jobs vote for me.

Nothing else is more important this year. Nobody cared how much John F. Kennedy or Franklin Delano Roosevelt paid in taxes. They also were rich — and, just as Mitt Romney, or any other rich man, did, I am sure they made use of every quirk in the tax laws that they could use to reduce their tax liability. Even Warren Buffett, whose comments President Obama has used to justify his tax hikes, was not forced to take all the deductions he did. Let's get back to what really matters.

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