Splitting the Room:  The 2017 Tax Overhaul

I try not to write about politics much here for a few reasons.  First, I tend to go for laughs, and you can split a room with issues like terrorism, the rise of the totalitarian state and electing senators who’ve been accused of molesting schoolgirls.  On that last one, for instance, it’s been reported that Judge Moore first targeted, er started grooming, er became attracted to his wife when he was in his mid-30’s and she was a 15-year-old dancer, sort of like tagging next year’s Christmas tree in March.  But I digress.

Although I don’t often comment on politics, I have friends on both sides of the aisle who keep me apprised of the skullduggery, scoundrelity and perfidy of everyone in the opposition.  For example, the United States Senate, the world’s most self-important yet ineffective deliberative body, passed an overhaul of our entire tax system a few days ago, the first time that’s been done since the Mets beat the Red Sox in the World Series.  You might think it would be relatively easy to examine this bill, given that it will affect almost every single American.  And by “examine,” I mean read the bill, not listen to Republicans talk about how “this will supercharge the economy, providing enough jobs for everyone to have three” or Democrats whine that “this will give more money to the super-super-super-super-rich while taking the last farthing from the widow before she can buy a lottery ticket.”

Unfortunately, not only can I, not only can you, not only can WE not read the bill, apparently the Senators who voted for it couldn’t either.  Like college Freshman lashing together a term paper and hoping to get at least partial credit, the Senate voted on a bill composed of hundreds of pages of printed material that had marginalia, cross-outs, secret love notes and post-its with angry faces. No one really knows all the details.

Until now.

My good friend, Senator Jubilation T. Cornpone (R-Georgia), had all of his staff (or at least those who were not at sexual harassment training) spend the night sifting through and typing away.  Just today, Old Jubey sent me the final, approved bill.  Here are some highlights of the additions made at the last minute:

  • All money spent at Cornpone General Store and Intimate Massage will be completely tax deductible for 125% of the purchase price up to a maximum of $10,000 per day. Like the radio ads say, “The more you spend, the more you save at Cornpone’s”
  • Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people, nor vote Democratic, lest ye be visited by the Auditor
  • Georgia is now considered an “offshore haven” for tax purposes. All financial transactions within the state are completely private and secret. Georgia will officially be called the “Dry Cleaning State,” since it can get stains out of even the dirtiest money
  • You shall not delay in offering the first of your ripe fruits, your liquors and your sons to the government. Your daughters, like other chattel, are yours to do with as you wish
  • Churches shall be considered “pass-through” charities, so that money donated to them can be multiplied up to five times. For example:
    • A Christian donating $100 to his local Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptist Church may deduct $100. If that money is passed on to a foundation run by that church’s pastor, the Christian may deduct a second $100.  Likewise, further deductions accrue when that money is passed from foundation to pro-life center to paid volunteer counselor to the church again in the form of a Sunday donation.  To save time, each true Christian may simply deduct five times the amount donated
    • If synagogues, mosques or other “religious” institutions wish to apply for this “pass-through” status, they are free to do so. Details will follow. Eventually.
  • Remembering the sacrifice of our brethren, sistern, and great-grandpappyern in the War of Northern Aggression, persons may deduct expenses related to reenacting the successful battles of the CSA.
    • The Battle of Bull Run MUST be referred to as Manassas
    • Negros wishing to participate MUST sing those happy field songs, not complain about slavery
  • Given the godless nature of the northeastern part of our great country, along with the hedonistic ways of those on our west coast, it is right and just they shall be doubly taxed—first by paying state and local taxes, then by paying federal tax on these payments. Further:
    • Monies spent to teach evolution shall be triply taxed
    • If this teaching is done by “feminists,” homosexuals or Jews, it shall be quadruply taxed
    • The Congress may add further categories for increased taxation when we can figure out words for five-, six- and seven-tuple

There’s more to the bill, of course.  This copy, coming from Sen. Cornpone’s office, highlighted some of the 50 or so additions the Senator managed to sneak in—er, introduce–at the last minute.  This bill still needs to be reconciled with the House’s similar collection of favors, punishments and lunacy, before being sent to the President for his signature, the first piece of legislation to be passed in 2016.  There may still be time for calm minds and statesmanlike demeanor to examine what we’re doing here and craft legislation that will improve the economy, help business and lower the impact of taxes on the working class.

That last sentence is the kind of joke that splits the room.

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