The Fish
for 22 February 2000. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 
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Revolting Acts

It's good to see that the
contraversy over I-695 is
still getting attention
outside of Washington state.
Unfortunately, we're stuck
with it, and what the
"talented" Eyman has gotten
away with is really
deplorable. The initiative
was largely supported by
non-commuting suburbia and
counties in Eastern
Washingston (sticksville). So
the rest of us city-dwellers
who voted against this stupid
initiative have to endure
even longer commutes,
cancelled bus routes, and
delayed freeway improvements,
among other things. Tim Eyman
is an idiot, as far as I'm
concerned, but a crafty one
who knows who'll buy into his
political impulses, and how
to spin his ideas to those
poor suckers. He was also a
staunch supporter of I-200,
the initiative to halt
affirmative action programs
in this state, just so you
know.

Thanks for the article.

Suzanne Asprea
<sasprea@tfmg.com>

You're welcome. Yeah, I-200
was the test run for I-695,
wasn't it? Appealing to a
very specific, angry voter
base with little desire to
research the implications of
their vote, resulting in
economic damage to specific
sub-groups and general
economic losses limited to
the major cities that is
difficult to quantify because
it involves potential rather
than actual business. All to
further a vague political
issue rather than one of
governance or economics.

I'd say very crafty.

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Who gives a rat's ass? One
scam after another to free
the poor ultrarich of the
chains of responsibility are
pressed and passed with the
fervent assistance of those
who are most harmed by such
"reforms". People in a
Democracy truly get the
government and policies they
deserve.

R. Bruce Anderson, Ph.D.
Department of PoliticalScience
Hastings College

<banderson@hastings.edu>

Yes, but the people who vote
against the reforms get the
government and policies the
other people deserve.

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


The Democrats' "simplified
progressive tax plans" will
prove an oxymoron, as the
Barbara Streisand exemption
has already shown (i.e., if
you're a heavy contributor,
guess what you get in
return?).

I fail to see how keeping
money out of the hands of
government is generally a bad
thing. These are the same
self-serving asses whose "War
on Drugs" has resulted in a
factual war on the civil
rights of the poor and
not-so-poor alike. If
restraining the police state
requires a meat axe, so be
it.

Rob McMillin
<rlm@pricegrabber.com>

The problem with using a meat
axe to restrain the police
state is the judgment of this
particular butcher. Those
programs are the last to go.

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Filler

Hey Polly:

Just wanted to say thanks for
the laugh. "You people are
fucking with my emotional
development in ways you can
scarcely imagine." Hah! I've
been thinking that about you
guys since 1996.

JWH
<jhardin@mail.sbc-adv.com>

Imagine, then, how much we're
fucking with our own
emotional development just by
being here for you all these
years.

Your charitable friend,

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Long live Mr. Flinchy! Does
he make a comeback this year?

John Fracisco
<john.fracisco@mindspring.com>

Oh, Mr. Flinchy makes a
comeback at least three or
four times per hour. Studies
show that every ten minutes,
there's a Mr. Flinchy
somewhere ducking out of some
responsibility or implied
obligation.

Maybe a public service
announcement is called for...

Polly
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Revolting Acts

I would like to kick Tim
Eyman in the head.

Then I would bitch-slap all
the weak minded or greedy
suckers that voted for I-695.

Only the rich with their
obscenely expensive SUVs and
large corporation with their
massive fleets of automobiles
benefited from the biggest
scam ever in Washington
politics.

I don't own a car and I will
be paying MORE now. How
fucked up is that? I pay more
for the ferry and bus when
some 30ish bitch gets to
drive her Excursion by
HERSELF to work everyday for
$30 a year. My friend's tabs
went up...

Now Tim Eyman wants to divert
nearly all of the states
transportation budget to
roads. Forget Salaries, or
ferries, or buses, let's just
build roads.

Hey look at L.A., it worked
fine there...Give me a
fucking break.

guedo espedia
<espedia@hotmail.com>

The conflict between road
services and public
transportation has been a
fundamental regional
political battle for years.
I'm with you -- I've never
understood why the ability to
live an hour or more away
from one's workplace was
considered a right for which
people should tax me. At the
same time, I'm more than
happy to have these people
live far away from me.

Maybe it's how you look at
it.

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Without a doubt the best
essay I've seen on Suck to
date. I look forward to more.
You have set the bar very
high.

Steven P. Sanabria
<diegodeigh@pikeonline.net>

Thank you, Steven. I look
forward to doing more, even
though the thought of any bar
makes me flash back to the
horrors of the "track and
field" unit in sixth grade
gym. Dick Fosbury has a lot
to answer for.

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 


Back in the days when
computers were time-sharing
behemoths, the Internet was a
DARPA project and the hottest
user interface you could get
was a DecWriter, Professor
Arthur Laffer drew what can
best be described as a crude
outline of the female breast
on a cocktail napkin and
called it economics. That
level of thought appealed not
only to arguably the most
idiotic person ever elected
President of the United
States, but also to droves of
clueless dupes who voted for
him not just once, but twice
and screamed for the
opportunity to do so a third
time. Never mind that Ronald
Reagan's first and only
attempt to actually use Dr.
Laffer's theory resulted in
disaster. Reagan simply spent
the rest of his two terms in
office prostituting
traditional Keynesian
principals, borrowing
trillions of dollars to pump
the economy and calling the
results the fruit of
supply-side genius.

The Laffer curve is pure bunk
of course, because it is
based on the fallacious
assumption that government
revenue is a univariate
function of tax rate, when in
fact government revenue is a
highly complex multivariate
function of tax rate. Raising
or lowering the effective tax
rate therefore entails
movement along a
multi-dimensional surface,
and if you don't know the all
the partial derivatives that
determine the gradient, you
don't know what government
revenue (or inflation, or
employment, or interest
rates) will do in response.
Martin Gardner dubbed the
actual multivariate function
the "technosnarl" in an
extremely insightful and
witty deconstruction of
Laffer and his ilk. It was
read, unfortunately, only by
people who regularly followed
Gardner's column in
Scientific American, which is
to say by damn few people at
all.

So, strange as it may seem,
lowering taxes does not
necessarily bring us
prosperity and raising them
does not necessarily deprive
us of it. And the same
Americans who bellyache the
most about paying taxes are
often the first to line up
and demand government
spending, be it on farm
subsidies for the burly
husbandman, an AIDS cure for
the pierced and tattooed, or
new houses for those cretins
who insist on building their
homes in flood plains. A
government that collects no
taxes also does absolutely
nothing for its citizens. And
with the exception of a few
lunatics still camped out in
their Y2K Armageddon bunkers,
the citizens do not, by and
large, actually desire a
government that expects them
to fix their own potholes,
organize their own protection
from criminals, and keep the
chemical plant down the road
from dumping poison in their
water supply by themselves.

If you scratch below the
surface on the issue of
taxes, you'll find out that
what pisses people off about
them is not so much the
money, it's the way the taxes
are collected and how the
taxes are spent. But
politicians never go past the
superficial on taxes because
doing so means confronting
organized special interests,
snugly entrenched government
bureaucracy and, worst of
all, the twisted, nasty,
incompetent and vindictive
tax collectors themselves.
Few, if any, politicians have
that kind of balls.

So enter into the resulting
moral vacuum the
citizen-demagogues, equipped,
perhaps, with some
doodle-festooned cocktail
napkins of their own, each
vigorously thumping the tub
to pass a proposition
restricting this or that tax.
Such guileless folk at least
have their ignorance as an
excuse. What Dr. Laffer's
excuse might be, God alone
knows.

Walter Bauer
<BauerW@DynCorp.com>

Having spent more than a few
cocktail parties drawing
breasts on napkins, I can
hazard a guess. Maybe this is
all Virgil Partch's fault?

At any rate, I wholeheartedly
agree with your analysis,
with the possible exception
of your characterization of
citizen-demogogues as
"guileless."

40th Street Black
 
Fish With Letter Icon
 

 The Shit
Fully Committed, Becky Mode, the Cherry Lane Theater, New York, New York
Paris in the Twentieth Century, Jules Verne, Del Rey, 1997
Chow Yun Fat's haircut in Anna and the King
A Comment on Mini-skirts, Thornton Dial
"Leonardo's Grave," Ian Jacks, Granta #67
The Long Swift Sword of Siegfried, directed by Adrian Hoven, 1971
The annual reappearance of cheap clementines in bodegas
The New Meaning of Treason, Rebecca West, Penguin Books, 1985
Five-Card Nancy (a card game played with individual panels of Ernie Bushmiller's comic strip)
The Birthday Party Live 1981-82, Four A.D., 1999
Black Sessions 10/22/98, Belle & Sebastian , (unreleased)
San Lorenzo's Blues, Nuzzle, Troubleman Unlimited, 1999
The Story of Time, exhibition in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England
Back of the Big House: The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, John Michael Vlach, University of North Carolina Press, 1993

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