Despite his great wisdom on the matter, the Tired Donkey swore off writing about taxes long ago because (1) of the thousands of visitors his blog gets every month, about two of them look at his tax-related posts, and (2) writing about our tax system became so depressing that the Tired Donkey nearly expired. Unfortunately, the recent brouhaha over the debt ceiling and a run of staggering stupidity at the New York Times is forcing the Tired Donkey to come out of tax retirement. So here we go. The Tired Donkey will try to make it brief.
On the day after the announcement of the debt ceiling deal, the New York Times’ editorial page, under the headline “To Escape Chaos, a Terrible Deal,” opined that the Democrats “held out for a few basic principles.” Among these, the paper observed, was the principle that there “must be new tax revenues in the mix so that the wealthy bear a share of the burden . . .” Hmmm. A share of the burden? Let’s check that out.
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30 Mar 2009 14:35
In yesterday’s NYTimes, Sudhir Venkatesh, a professor of sociology at Columbia University, speculates about why donkeys have not taken to the streets in protest after the string of outrages Congress and the President have visited on us of late. The Tired Donkey finds his argument compelling but hopes we can shake our torpor sometime soon; a herd of angry donkeys would be a formidable force. If only we weren’t so tired.
To change the subject completely, the Tired Donkey watched the Ridley Scott outing Body of Lies last night. The movie contains many moving scenes which include hard-working donkeys in the background. The non-donkey parts of the movie were good, too. The Tired Donkey invites his readers to submit the names of other movies with donkey extras to be included in a soon-to-be released definitive guide by the Tired Donkey called Donkeys in Cinema: The Definitive Guide.
04 Mar 2009 16:36 Filed in: Linguistic Shenanigans
The Tired Donkey knows that the visitors to his website are critical readers, but he also knows that most people—donkey and freeloader alike—are not. In fact, most people are idiots. So he presents this object lesson to help his readers educate their children and their co-workers.
This will likely come as no surprise to you, but the New York Times often publishes articles that obscure the truth. Take, for instance, an otherwise interesting piece published today and written by David Leonhardt. The article contains the following paragraph:
The second reason is government policy. The Obama administration plans to raise taxes on the affluent, cut them for everyone else (so long as the government can afford it, that is) and take other steps to reduce inequality. Franklin D. Roosevelt did something similar and it had a huge effect.
The Tired Donkey respectfully suggests that there is something wrong with the information in this paragraph, and he believes you know what it is. Right! It is impossible to cut taxes for “everyone else” since—depending on whether or not you and the NYTimes define “affluent” the same way (the Tired Donkey suspects there would be a difference)—less than half of the people remaining after the affluent are removed pay any taxes that could be cut.
Since this paragraph is short, the Tired Donkey suggests that you have your children and/or idiot coworkers read it. Then ask them if they know what is wrong with it. If they do, congratulate them, remind them that if they choose to read the New York Times they should approach the experience as they would approach a combat patrol in the Waziristan Hills, and, finally, invite them to visit the Tired Donkey. If they do not pick up on the glaring error, mock them without pity and warn them against the danger of believing all they read.