TAXES, taxes, taxes.In a campaign season in which "tax" is...

salmagundi

October 10, 1994

TAXES, taxes, taxes.

In a campaign season in which "tax" is a dirty word and "tax cut" is received like a mantra of salvation, it's worth noting a proposal put forth by the Sage of Baltimore himself, H. .L. Mencken, more than half a century ago in The Evening Sun. Somehow we think this idea wouldn't bring him many votes in today's climate. But then Mencken was never concerned with being popular; his goal was to be provocative:

"Some time ago I proposed that Congress . . . impose the income tax, not on money spent, but on savings only. That would force money into circulation, make for a brisk market in all sorts of consumers' goods, reduce unemployment, and, by discouraging capital investments, keep down both speculation and overproduction -- two of the chief causes, in all probability, of the collapse of 1928.

"The objection that the plan would discourage savings to a dangerous extent is hardly valid. Thrifty people would still save, even though they were penalized for it. The chief difference would be that more workers would have money to save than is the case now. It seems to me that this would be an TC improvement, for it is those who save their money who own the country, and it would surely be better for the country to be owned by many than by a few."

-- The Evening Sun, April 5, 1937

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MORE Mencken:

"PITY the loan shark! He might be worse. For example, he might be a politician.

"Sometimes he is."

-- The Evening Sun, June 10, 1911

* * *

Money isn't everything. The rich aren't a darned bit 'better' than the poor. But in a world where success is measured in dollars and the chief desire is to get money, it must be clear that the easiest way to find an able man is to look for one whose pockets are filled."

-- The Evening Sun, Jan. 5, 1926

* * *

THOSE business men who think only of easy profits tomorrow might do well to give a thought or two to the day after."

-- The Evening Sun, Oct. 6, 1925

* * *

THE usefulness of a bank to the community is not to be judged solely by the amount of money it accumulates, but also by the extent to which that money is made to meet the needs of business. It is, in brief, not the mere dollar but the nimble dollar that counts."

1% -- The Evening Sun, Dec. 17, 1910

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