Wretched start to the morning. Saturday is my one day off — barring catastrophe.
So of course a little after 5 this morning, Real Clear Policy co-editor Joe Lawler informed me, via text because good luck getting a call through right now, that he and about a million other residents of the DC Metro area are without power and therefore without Internet and that the situation is likely to persist. The update was all on my groggy brain and clumsy fingers.
There was one columnal consolation, which I led with: Christopher Caldwell’s usual Saturday essay in the Financial Times. The subject was legal tax dodgers, a subject (and target) which the Brits have got themselves worked about of late. UK Chancellor George Osborne has described the practice of dodging as many taxes as we can get away with as “morally repugnant.” Other prominent polls have joined in with censorious words to that effect.
This political “consensus position,” writes Caldwell, was first handed down to us by the insufferably platitudinous US Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who said, “I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”
Yeah, about that, Caldwell explains, “The problem is that where taxes are decided by legislation, they result from a tug-of-war between factions, not from ageless moral wisdom about what constitutes a ‘fair share.’ The UK’s offsetting-mortgage rule and its gift-aid scheme, the US subsidies for ethanol production and alpaca farming – you won’t find those things in the Bible.”