and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation

Barbara's Column

From Washington to Beacon Hill,
annoyance index on the rise
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Gov. Deval Patrick is "asking" me to "contribute." He wants me to pay 19 cents more for a gallon of gas.

Thank you for "asking," governor. But I'd prefer not to "contribute" at this time.

I thought that settled it, but the governor persists, assuring me that the tax increase will cost me only $8, the price of one large coffee a week.

There are people who pay $8 for a cup of coffee? I buy my coffee at Marshalls. It's usually $4.99 for a 12-ounce bag of something hazelnut or caramel that lasts over a month, since I make myself one cup a day at home. Even with the scoop of ice cream, it doesn't cost $8 a week.

Of course, the gas tax increase won't cost me $8 a week either, since my Honda CRV rarely travels while I work at home. I presently fill up for $15 once a month.

So I'm not worried about the money as much as I am annoyed by the use of the word "asking" when he means "ordering" and the "just a cup of coffee or pizza a week or coke a day or jellybean an hour" thing. Every Massachusetts tax increase has meant just a small sacrifice, adding up to a total tax burden that is fourth highest in the nation for each of us who just wants to enjoy our little treats without having our intelligence insulted.

The governor tells us that "grown-ups know that you can't have something for nothing."

No, really? I can't? Wow, until the governor just enlightened me, I really believed that I could! How embarrassing to discover that I've not been a grown-up and that the money I've been paying in gas taxes, auto sales taxes, registration fees and the uniquely Massachusetts auto excise were "nothing."

Another thing that annoys the cooperation out of me is the politicians' insistence that if we don't want to pay higher taxes, we must come up with our own solution to the crisis of the moment.

Here is my perhaps not-grown-up response: I didn't cause this crisis. In fact, I recall warning that the federal government would not be paying 90 percent of the Big Dig price, that said price would be at least three times more than we were told and that the money would come from other transportation projects.

I've complained for years about transportation union benefits. I worked with a ballot campaign to repeal the state prevailing-wage law that drives up all construction costs.

And having been ignored, I'm now told I have to come up with a solution to the inevitable crisis?

Tell you what, Governor, if you solve it without involving me in any way, I'll buy you a cup of coffee.

As if the arrogance of state government wasn't enough, this past week, we had the new U.S. attorney general calling us Americans "cowards" for not dealing with the issue of race. Eric Holder, who is black and is working with a black president who was elected by cowardly Americans, deplores the fact that we "simply do not talk enough with each other about race."

Guilty, Mr. AG. I never talk about race. For most of my life I thought it was irrelevant, that all men are created equal. Then I got involved in politics, where activists who want tax cuts are called racist for some reason; as if there were no members of racial minorities who could use a tax break.

So I tuned out and continue to ignore the subject of race, unless something really interestingly silly is brought to my attention like the New York Post cartoon using a recent chimpanzee attack to make fun of the federal government. The police had to shoot the crazed critter, so the cartoon showed them standing over its dead body, wondering who would draft the next "stimulus plan."

Since the bill really does look like something drafted by monkeys with typewriters, I thought the cartoon was pretty funny, and when I heard it was controversial, immediately thought only of PETA going ape over the cartoonist making light of the shooting.

It never crossed my mind to think that the deceased chimp looked like the president of the United States, as some hysterical liberals are claiming.

True, all human beings share almost 99 percent of their genetic makeup with chimpanzees, but why pick on the president? What, you say it's because he's black? Does the gorgeous Blair Underwood look like a chimp? How about Halle Berry? I don't think so.

I am bored with black and have just spent February ignoring Black History Month. Americans should study American melting-pot history and get on with it.

But speaking of the president: This week, Barack Obama, after increasing the national debt by $2 trillion his first month in office, became a deficit hawk with these words: "I'm pledging to cut the deficit we inherited by half."

Get it? He's promising to cut the one-year deficit he inherited in half while still passing his own trillion-dollar deficits onto future generations. Cute.

I'm crabby when dealing with supercilious politicians of any color. This is why I need my daily cup of coffee, Governor.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.