I Know It When I See It…

At a time when so much of the news is about taxes and “unsustainable” government spending, I find myself in my usual position of being the odd man out who sees both the merits and the ridiculousness of both sides of the debate.

On the one hand (and being a “little guy” myself), it makes sense that those who can best bear it should carry a greater part of the “burden” when it comes to paying to keep our system running. But on the other hand, I can also understand the complaints from the “big guy” about the government’s attempt to charge him thousands of times more for the same (or less) services received from the government by we little guys – especially considering the government’s atrocious track record for delivering those services.

Now I could go on to produce a big old rant about the really shaky philosophical ground on which our whole system rests, but I really don’t feel like restating the things I’ve said so many times before to no avail. I would, however, like to relay some of the thoughts I always have when I think about these issues.

The first is a paraphrase of something an “all-organic and locally-grown-only” restaurant owner once answered when the host of a PBS food show asked why he didn’t take the usual “high prices for high clientele” approach to setting his prices: “Well, I can only eat one steak at a time.”

That statement has stuck with me ever since I heard it years ago, and I finally got around to doing a search for its origins awhile back. Amazingly enough, the only other person I could find that had said it was this guy:

Harvey Ball is recognized as the earliest known designer of the smiley.

Harvey Ball is recognized as the
earliest known designer of the smiley.

Ball’s son, Charles Ball is reported to have said his father never regretted not registering the copyright. Telegram & Gazette reported Charles Ball as saying “he was not a money-driven guy, he used to say, ‘Hey, I can only eat one steak at a time, drive one car at a time'”.

~ Harvey Ball – Wikipedia

The second thing that pops into my mind when I think about these issues may, at first glance, seem unrelated:

“I know it when I see it.”

~ Justice Potter Stewart on Jacobellis v. Ohio

But if this system, as it stands today, isn’t obscene, then I don’t know what is!

And finally, there is this:

And, of course, this:

I want ice water.

See more of my Random Ravings

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12 thoughts on “I Know It When I See It…

  1. Hi IzaakMak, I hope that 2013 is heading off to a great start and yes Its always been I guess US and THEM.. depending on which side of US you find yourself on 😉
    For Me I prefer to lift my head up a little.. Having always been a Tax Payer here in the UK and like many grumble about all those hidden taxes which we all pay on goods and services etc.. We can so easily grumble some more as we see it all over again!… As here in the UK we get one political party spending our their ears only to have the next come in and cut back… When that party cut backs the one that got them in the mess in the first place squeaks and squawks how they would do better.. SO why didnt they when they were in office…
    And around and around we go.. and we still see Taxes Rise and WE are still the ones paying them..
    So I will get down off the soap box and leave politics where they belong and just try to get on with being the best I can be.. in this New Year of 2013…

    If I didnt get around to wishing you a Happy New Year my friend apologies.. but here I am now…
    Happy New Year… Sue xox


  2. I’m actually one of those unusual people who has always contended that I would gladly pay more taxes (even though I pay at a much higher rate than Romney), if it meant that no children in this country would starve to death, if it meant that our children could get a quality education.


  3. Over a long period of time I have noticed something about the ” Haves” which seems to apply to all but a few. They never treat their children like thay say they would like those ” deadbeat” poor treated. Their kids don’t live on the street. Their kids are not cold and unable to sleep. Their kids don’t go to bed hungry. The “Haves” seldom mention this phenomenon and will refuse to discuss it. Sometimes my species disappoints me. I try and remember that there are exceptionally good people in the world who really would and do give the shirts off their backs.



  4. I, too, see both sides of the issue. On the one hand it seems unfair to penalize people for their hard work and resulting success by making them pay higher taxes. And yet, being better off means they have more discretionary income and so could be be taxed at a higher rate without materially affecting their lives. How would you feel if you were a little guy who started small, worked 80-100-hour weeks for years to build your business, and eventually became a very wealthy man — and then the government came in and, because you were so successful, took more of your money? Is that fair? Is that a good way to encourage hard work and striving for success?


    • No PT, it isn’t fair and it’s certainly not very encouraging either. But what bothers me most is having all that anti-communist crap drummed into my head while I was growing up, only to discover that all along we’ve been building a system based on the same principles… 😕


  5. Pingback: And Now For Something Completely Stupid! | I Want Ice Water

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