Think back on the great speeches of our era: John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address….Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech….Ronald Reagan at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate….
…and know that those are all dog food compared to Rep. Dan Greenberg’s stemwinder at the Arkansas Tax Day Tea Party demonstration on April 15. What? It was just a week ago? Why, it seems another time.
You can relive those halcyon days Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. when Greenberg’s speech, or a portion thereof, will reportedly be broadcast on AETN’s “You, Me and Wall Street,” which sounds like a children’s program, but what do I know.
Can’t wait that long? KTHV/Channel 11 has a short video clip over here.
Excerpt from Greenberg’s remarks below at the jump.
“When you wake up in the morning and drink that first cup of coffee, you’ve paid a sales tax. To start your car, you’ve paid an automobile tax. Drive to work, you pay a gas tax. At work, you pay an income tax and a payroll tax. You get home at night and you pay a property tax. Flip on the light – you are paying an electricity tax. Turn on the TV – you pay a cable tax. Make a telephone call – you pay a utility tax. Brush your teeth, you’ll pay a water tax. Even when you die, you pay a death tax.
“I have just one question: Have you had enough?
“Most of these taxes are passed along to the consumer. Over a quarter of the cost of bread: taxes. About 50% of the cost of a phone call: taxes. Over 50% of a gallon of gas: taxes. And I am sure that you recall that in this very building right behind me, majority of legislators voted earlier this year to raise the taxes on milk.
“I am sure you remember the Boston tea party: a tax protest that was a response to a failed and unresponsive political system. A government out of touch with the people that was doing just the wrong thing in response to a crisis. Does this sound familiar?
“Winston Churchill said: For a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing on a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
“If you suddenly discovered you were much poorer than you thought, would your first reaction be to run up your credit card debt as high as it would go? I would call that stupid. What do they call it in Washington? A stimulus program!
“I would say that Congress is spending like a drunken sailor: but that is unfair to drunken sailors.
“Did you read the newspaper article about the city government nearby receiving a stimulus check for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Do you know what the city manager said? He said: this is great news, but we don’t know how we’re going to spend it yet. Think of that. When the people get taxed to pay for these things, they have plans to spend money too, but I guess that the stimulus has taken care of that.
“The deficit spending we have at the federal level leads to the worst and most dangerous and least visible and least accountable and most unfair tax of all. A trillion dollars of extra spending by government creates the danger of inflation: people with savings will have their savings completely destroyed by the inflation caused by government spending. Inflation is a less obvious way of going into everyone’s savings account, forcibly removing the money, and giving it to everyone else.
“Is paying more taxes the patriotic thing to do, as the vice president has told us? His cabinet members apparently don’t think so.
“What is true patriotism? Well, it has to do with being in touch with reality. A good example comes from the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan reduced the top tax rate from 70 percent to 28 percent. The amount of income reported by the rich jumped by a huge amount between 1980 and 1988. The increase in taxable income was so immense that the amount of tax collected at a 28 percent tax rate was larger than the amount of tax collected with a 70 percent tax rate.
“We need fundamental tax reform: the tax code needs to be fairer, it needs to be flatter, and—most importantly—it needs to take less of our money.”