Madison County Opinion...

DECEMBER 8, 2004


Column
By Frank Gillispie
The Madison County Journal
December 8, 2004

National sales tax a good idea
The question of abolishing the payroll tax in favor of a national sales tax is once again before Congress. Is this a good idea?
Just imagine not having to worry about April 15th. No more payroll deductions. No more boxes of files to prove your deductions. You get to keep everything you earn. You decide how much tax you want to pay by how much you spend. If you are a small business, how much would you save if you didn’t have to pay all the compliance costs to keep the IRS happy?
Eliminating payroll taxes would make products made in the USA more competitive with foreign imports. If you buy a new wrench, for example, every step in the process of extracting raw material and converting it into a usable product is taxed. The workers who mine the iron oar pay taxes. The drivers who haul the oar to the mills pay taxes. The iron workers pay taxes. The drivers who haul the raw steel to the manufacture pay taxes. The factory workers who manufacture the wrench pay taxes.
An imported wrench bypasses all these taxes. It comes from a ship by rail to the warehouse. It generates little in the way of tax until it reaches the sales floor.
Obviously, American made products are at a disadvantage under the payroll tax system. A national sales tax would level the field for local products.
At the same time, the drop in production cost for American goods would make them much more competitive in the international market. We would be selling more and buying less from other countries, making our trade deficit far smaller that it is now. The flow of manufacturing jobs from America would reverse, with our states gaining huge numbers of high-income workers. That would greatly decrease the cost of government, making the necessary tax rate much lower.
Federal agencies estimate that a national sales tax would have to be set at 23 percent to replace the payroll tax. Combined with Georgia’s average seven percent tax, would yield a tax of 30 percent on a new wrench. A $2 wrench would cost you $2.60. But eliminating the payroll tax would boost most workers’ income by considerably more than 30 percent. We would be much better off.
Eliminating the payroll tax would create a manufacturing boom giving jobs to anyone willing to work. Welfare and poverty rolls would drop dramatically, reducing the taxes needed to well below the 30 percent now envisioned. Average citizens of this nation would be flush with money to donate to charity, or to the local museum, or boy scouts and girl scouts. Soon the whole problem of welfare and community development would be financed with volunteer contributions. Even lower taxes would create even more jobs and the cycle of prosperity would continue.
For those who have limited income, such as disability or social security, Congress proposes an annual “refund.” That would assure the truly needy that they will still have a tax break.
I like the idea of a national sales tax as long as we repeal the 16th amendment making sure that payroll taxes never return. We would all come out ahead.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His e-mail address is frankgillispie@charter.net. His website can be accessed at http://frankgillispie.tripod.com/gillispie/

Column
By Zach Mitcham
The Madison County Journal
December 8, 2004

In the Meantime

When it comes to lyrics, ‘tape it to a biscuit’
Sometimes I find as I’m driving down the road, singing along with a song, that the wrong lyric is more fun than the right one.
“Just like a one wing dove, sings a song sounds like she’s singing. Whoo, baby, whoo, baby, whoo.”
My wife, Jana, looked at me like I was crazy, noting that — apart from the sorry singing – the Stevie Nicks song went nothing like that.
“One wing dove? It’s wild wing dove.”
We both laughed. She pictured a dove breezing through the air, wild in the wind, full of life. I imagined a one-winged dove flopping in circles on the ground, unable to fly, a sad sight.
Perhaps this could be material for some psychiatrist who could find a deeper meaning to our conflicting images of the dove.
But I wasn’t going to go down easy in this argument. I was just certain the lyrics were “one wing dove.” I insisted, again.
“Well, that’s just pitiful,” she said in a tone equal to a pat on the head. “She didn’t say one wing.”
So we made a bet, each certain we were right.
Then I told Jana of some other songs I had misunderstood in the past: for instance, that Jimi Hendrix song “If six was nine.” For quite some time, I thought Hendrix said, “Now if a cyst turned out benign, I don’t mind.”
I always thought that was kind of a lapse in taste on Hendrix’s part.
“Well, of course, he wouldn’t mind if it was benign,” I thought. “And why bring up a cyst in a rock song? Doesn’t that kind of ruin the song?”
But, of course, I was wrong. He actually sings what’s in the song title, “If a six turned out to be nine, I don’t mind.” It was my faulty ears that put the unpleasant medical imagery in his song.
Then there’s that Van Halen song that I thought said, “Now don’t you see me standing here I got my back against the record machine, I eat the works that you’ve seen.”
No, there’s actually no eating of “works” in the song, no consumption of art gallery pieces. David Lee Roth (who is reportedly now training to become a paramedic) actually says “I ain’t the worst that you’ve seen.”
Many websites are devoted to misunderstood lyrics. Some of the funnier entries I’ve seen include: Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s “Tape it to a biscuit” instead of “Taking care of business.” (Funny, yes, but could someone really be that mistaken, believing a song was devoted to Scotch tape on a biscuit? I kind of doubt it.)
Then there’s the Steve Miller Band’s “Big ole Jed had a light on” instead of “Big old jet airliner.” Or Paul Young’s “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you” instead of the actual song which is “...a piece of me with you.”
The misunderstood song lyric is something to be appreciated, but the source of headaches if you look at it from the other end, the side of the songwriter.
I admit, I’ve stayed up many nights trying to write songs. And I don’t mean I’m looking for a hit. I’m realistic. I just do it for the fun of it.
But more times than not, I sit down with my guitar these days and just try to come up with music that moves me, not even worrying about writing words. For one, I get frustrated with writing bad lyrics.
But, also, who’s going to understand what you say anyway?
Seriously, if you’ve written a song, played it for somebody, then asked someone what they heard, you can probably relate.
“What’s that part you said about the ghost?”
“No, man, that word was ‘coast.’”
“Well, you need to pronounce your words better.”
So I try to do that, but as I work harder to make everything intelligible, to make my mouth form each word appropriately, I feel as if the song resonates like an AT&T automated voice message.
Ultimately, I guess the key is not to care, not to worry too much about being misunderstood or not hearing a song right. Cause it can all be fun in the end.
Just let it flow on out, like a wild wing dove.
Or a one wing dove.
It’s actually “white” wing dove. So we both lost the bet.
But I like ours better.
Zach Mitcham is editor of The Madison County Journal.

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