Is it possible we’re being snookered, I mean more than usual? Treasury Secretary Snow is crisscrossing the country touting, among other things the glorious prospect of an administration plan to overhaul the tax system. Everything is “on the table” he says including an end to deductions for local and state taxes, mortgage interest and charitable giving deductions. For those who think excluding deductions for state and local taxes would make states, especially here in the east, rein in their spending programs I wonder what programs they think should be cut. Would snow removal, highway repairs, education, environmental cleanups be good cost-cutting areas? One has to wonder.
But who really thinks the administration can be serious about doing away with mortgage interest deductions anyway, real estate being one of the few truly robust sectors in the economy? And, unless they plan to fund all poverty and disease-prevention programs by diverting tax dollars to “faith-based” entities and are willing to countenance sharp reductions in gifts to educational institutions, is pulling the charitable-giving deduction something the government wants to put its stamp on? I rather think that these items are “on the table” only as a means of saying in the end. ‘maybe we’ll leave those alone, but by golly the other stuff has to go.’ I know that sounds devious, but is that so surprising?
Moving on to the work of Congress in its opening days…there is much to consider what with confirmation hearings, discussions about Tsunami relief, the vote in Ohio, but one cannot help being struck by Tom Delay’s remarks on the floor of the House. Quoting from Matthew 7:24-27 thusly he said “who built his house upon the rock … when the floods came the house did not fall” but the “foolish man” who “built his house upon the sand” lost his house when the floods came. No doubt the biblical passage was intended to suggest God’s House as opposed to man’s and did not refer to actual houses and floods, but in the wake of the Tsunami disaster whatever Delay’s words were intended to convey, whether with respect to religious convictions or actual events, they were in remarkably poor taste and lacked any sign of compassionate conservatism.
Interestingly also in Matthew 6:19 it is said “Do not lay up treasures on earth where moth and rust consume but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Maybe that influenced Delay’s decision to become an exterminator. In that occupation he could get rid of those pesky moths and lay up plenty of treasure here on earth to finance his political goals and influence the political futures of others. He also chooses to ignore Proverbs 17:5 which says “Who mocketh the poor reproacheth his maker.”
And one cannot help but think if The Creator really wanted Tom Delay to be one of our foremost leaders he would have made him taller.
Oh and by the way, Thank you Senator Boxer.

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