- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 9, 2000


In the spirit of the new year and millennium, The Washington Times offers resolutions it is never too late for presidential candidates and returning lawmakers to consider:
m Leave the Internet alone. For years, government has done end-runs around the people of this country, using federal withholding from paychecks and other sleights-of-hand to expropriate ever-greater sums from their pockets. The Internet and e-commerce is the first end-run by the people around the government. It is the freest thing this land has seen 1776 remarkably bereft of interference from meddling bureaucrats, stupid, arbitrary rules and restrictions. Let's leave it this way. Taxing Internet commerce, allowing Washington officials to dip their hands into the money till, is the very last thing the country needs.
m Get the feds out of education. The U.S. Department of Education has never educated a soul and serves only as a make-work project for government officials. Unless the goal is socialization and/or the inculcation of state dogmas, the education of young people should be firmly in the control of those to whom it matters most parents and local communities. The farther one gets from local control of education, the more slipshod the quality of that education becomes. The idea that a bureaucrat in Washington cares more about the education of a child in Portland, Ore. or has the means to keep track of the curricula and ensure it's the best, etc. than that child's parents or local community, is as ridiculous as the pope in high heels.
m End multi-tiered taxation. Americans pay income taxes (and most of them pay state and local taxes, too). Up to a point, that's the price they (allegedly) pay for civilization, as the saying goes. But then they get to pay taxes again and again when they try and spend, save or invest these already-taxed funds. The most egregious examples that come to mind are the so-called "death tax" and, of course, capital gains taxes. The tax on inheritances is confiscatory and ought to appall decent people. A man works and saves his entire life; upon his death, this nest egg is conveyed to his children as a means to a better life. But the government feels it has a right to tear this legacy from the hands of those for whom it was intended because "others" are more deserving of the fruits of a lifetime of work than the worker's designated heirs.
Capital gains taxes are similarly revolting. One saves and invests then the government busts down the door to help itself to a large chunk of the proceeds, having already taxed the income used to generate the capital gains. Income should not be taxed more than once. It may be pie-in-the-sky to expect either the Republican or Democratic nominee to embrace this truth but it's worth bringing it up nonetheless.
m Stop pulling the race card. Most Americans are sick to death of racial politics and would like to enter the 21st century free of the baggage of the past. Problems remain, but it does no one any good to accentuate racial differences and fan the flames of racial/ethnic animosity especially when the majority of this nation's people are decent folk of good will who want to live and let live. If politicians would quit making an issue of race and focus instead on what unites the country, Americans may finally be able to leave what divided them behind.
These are just a few suggestions that, if followed, would make America more like the place it ought to be. Politics and good sense don't have to be mutually exclusive. Is that too much to ask for the new year?

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