Madison County Opinion...

APRIL 16, 2003

By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
April 16, 2003

Frankly Speaking
Taxes and the Southern states
I am writing this on April 15, tax day. It is fitting that tax day falls in the center of Southern History and Heritage Month. After all, an unfair tax program was the leading cause for the Southern Rebellion of 1861.
In the decade of 1950, nearly 80 percent of all federal taxes were paid by Southern states. Four key states, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia paid half the taxes. At the same time, 75 percent of federal funds were spent building infrastructure for Northern industrialists.
The next time you visit Savannah, go by Bay Street and visit the old Customs House. Its purpose was to collect excise taxes from ships entering Savannah Harbor. A major part of federal funding was produced by that building.
Southern states existed on an agricultural economy. We produced the raw material from which factories in England and New England produced manufactured goods. English businessmen competed by offering the best prices for Southern goods as well as the best prices for their manufactured products.
Northern businessmen chose not to compete this way. They gained control of the federal government and used it to impose heavy taxes on British goods. That forced Southerners to sell to them at lower prices and buy from them at higher prices.
Most Southerners operated small family farms. They had no slaves. All work was done by family members. They were able to produce just enough to get by. These excise taxes hit heavily on these small farmers.
Southerners were deeply disturbed by the campaign and election of Abraham Lincoln. He had made an increase in these already abusive taxes as his key campaign issue. Southerners felt that the only way to save their economy was to leave the Union and set up a new government that would prohibit excise taxes and allow free trade with Brittan.
President Lincoln was just as determined to continue collecting the tax. He sent a message to the seceding states that he would not resist their departure as long as he could fortify the ports and continue to collect the tax. That was the very thing the South could not tolerate.
The War for American Independence was a tax revolt. Most of the leaders of that revolt were Southern. We won that one. The War for Southern Independence was a tax revolt. Again, Southerners were fighting for fair taxes. We lost that one. Today, we are subject to one of the most abusive tax systems in our history. And again, Southern politicians are leading the fight for tax reform.
Now you know why Southern culture is being so viciously attacked by liberal, big government, tax and spend radicals. They think government knows best how to spend our money. We think we can do it better ourselves.
It’s not about the flag. It is about tax and spend politics.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at His e-mail address is

By Adam Fouche
The Madison County Journal
April 16, 2003

Guest Column
A dinner fit for Sonny
You might not know it, but the greatest mystery in the world has nothing to do with Sasquatch, the Abominable Snowman or the Egyptian pyramids.
Instead, life’s most intriguing riddle comes in a small aluminum can.
Growing up as an avid fisherman, there’s one thing I was never short of—vienna sausages.
I’m not ashamed to admit it. I’ve eaten my fair share of viennas.
On many a fishing trips, I’ve taken one of them, split it long ways with my pocketknife and slapped it on a cracker. And you may not think it, but that’s some fine eating during a day out on the lake.
I’m sure many of you have probably eaten at least one can of vienna sausages in your lifetime. I’m not going to ask you to raise your hands. That might embarrass you.
But if you have tried them, I think you’ll agree with me on this—the greatest mystery isn’t what they’re made of, it’s how to get the first one out of the can.
I’m serious about this. Go buy a can. Try it. Getting the first sausage out without tearing it is nearly an impossible feat.
Regardless, there ain’t much finer a food while fishing than vienna sausages and crackers (except maybe sardines, but that’s another story altogether).
And this great mystery leads me to my main point. I bet Governor Sonny Perdue has eaten a few cans of vienna sausages.
I had the privilege of visiting his state-supplied home in Buckhead for lunch on Friday. I won’t tell you what for. Some things in a person’s life should be left private.
But I will tell you that I met his wife there. And after meeting the first lady and seeing the Governor on television a lot last week, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s no different than you or I.
I bet Sonny likes to catfish. I bet he’s been in a treestand more than once. And I bet he likes to eat vienna sausages during a day of fishing on the lake.
And that all might not mean too much to you. But it says to me that he’s a guy who’s got his head screwed on the right way.
And if he’s anything like I think he is, then he’s probably a lot like me (which makes him an okay guy).
So it doesn’t really matter what he does with the flag or the budget or the sin tax. Because when it comes right down to it, the governor of Georgia has the same problems we all have.
How in the heck do you get that sausage out of the can without tearing it?
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. His email address is

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