Archive for July 21st, 2010

The Quantum Theory of Government

Back in the early days of quantum theory, Sir William Bragg used to say that on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, physicists thought of the electron as a wave, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, as a particle.

The Obama Administration, and their Democrat counterparts here in the state, have adopted a similar theory of taxation.  First, it was the state Democrats insisting that a fee wasn’t a tax, except when it was.  Now, the Obama Administration, in response to Virginia’s lawsuit against Obamacare, has changed its tune about the penalty you will soon pay for not carrying health insurance.

Initially, they claimed it wasn’t a tax, in order to avoid rhetorically breaking the President’s promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.  Now, in response to the lawsuit, which claims that the government can’t impose a penalty for not engaging in commerce, and that the IRS can’t be used to collect penalties unrelated to taxation, the Administration has decided that it’s a tax, after all.

Which will create difficulties of its own.  The Constitution limits the direct taxation authority of Congress pretty severely.  While the 16th Amendment permits income taxes, this isn’t an income tax.  And while it permits capitation taxes, those taxes have to be in proportion to a state’s population, which this also isn’t.

So we’re left with a situation where something is a tax on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a fee on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and a penalty on Sunday.

The resolution to the quantum paradox, most agree, is that the electron and other particles aren’t really particles or waves at all, but something else entirely that has features of each.  I think it’s pretty clear what’s what in this case, but no doubt the Democrats will soon be arguing that it’s neither a penalty nor a fee nor a tax, but something else altogether.

The one common denominator to all these definitions is that it means more money for them, and less for you.

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I Wonder If He Got The Idea From Journo-List

In this morning’s Denver Post, Mike Littwin manages to display simultaneously the insularity and smugness of the One Party media, as well as one of the last tools left in the left’s rather empty playbook.

Apparently, during a Senate debate at Channel 12, Jane Norton said, “We need a NASA budget that doesn’t cater to making Muslims feel good but that is strong on science …” This scandalized Littwin, who assumed it was a cheap shot at Muslims. Evidently, he hadn’t seen the video that’s been making the rounds on the conservative and libertarian blogosphere:

Remarkably, instead of conceding that we’re paying all those scientists, engineers, and bureaucrats to actually achieve, or at least facilitate achievement, in space, Littwin uses his and the rest of the MSM reporters’ ignorance of the interview as evidence that the argument was out of place, and then goes straight for the race card:

When I read the stories, I remembered hearing something about it. But when I showed Norton’s quote to several people up on the news — but not necessarily up on Fox News — they each registered a blank.

That suggests something we already knew: that we get our news these days from different places. What it doesn’t tell us, though, is why Norton thought the story was worth mentioning at all.

Presumably Norton meant to say “Muslim countries” rather than all “Muslims,” including those who might live, say, next door. I guess that’s still up for debate.

For the record, I’m as proud as anyone of Ilan Ramon, but his presence on the shuttle should have been incidental to its mission, not actually its mission.  Also for the record, I’m with Bill Whittle when he lauds NASA’s retreat to make room for a more sustainable private space program.

A few years ago, at an LPR session, Littwin told me that reporters were well aware of the blogosphere, that they spent tons of time reading blogs in an effort to understand this new media.  Seems they manage to miss HotAir, Powerline, Pajamas Media, Instapundit.

The line of argument, to the extent that there is one, is that since Littwin hadn’t seen the video, Norton may be a bigot.  In a year when the left’s traditional arguments appear to have run out of steam, there’s one they think they can reliably return to, time and again.  The Journo-list extracts over at Daily Caller indicate the power that the accusation of racism once had, and that the left still thinks it has.  But with the country having elected a black president, answering a cry of “read the Constitution” with “you must be racist” is increasing falling on deaf ears.

Those who thought that Obama’s presidency might herald a post-racial era may yet be right.  Just not exactly how they thought.

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