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Looking for good government? Centuries ago Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu told us the way to get it: A sound leader’s aim Is to open people’s hearts, Fill their stomachs, Calm their wills, Brace their bones, And so to clarify their thoughts and cleanse their needs. That no cunning meddler could touch them: Without being forced, without strain or constraint, Good government comes of itself. That’s our problem todaythese cunning meddlers. Howard Wachtel, in his essay, “Tax Distortion in the Global Economy,” points out that “as globalization challenges national borders, governments are discovering that their tax base is eroding, especially their ability to tax corporate profits. “The share of total taxes from labor while the share on capital has been declining.” In the United States, corporate taxes accounted for 27 percent of total federal tax receipts in 1965. In 1999, it was only 15 percent and in 2001, it was 12 percent. The Wall Street Journal had an interesting editorial on May 16, marked by CUNNING MEDDLERS BY BERNARD RAPOPORT this bold-type assertion: “Why it’s patriotic to avoid paying high tax rates.” This interpretation requires that patriotism needs redefining. The old definition, love of country, indicated delight in being the beneficiary of American citizenship. What is important is that everyone pays his share. But when is enough not enough? This brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s observation. It really needs no comment. It just succinctly puts the truth before us in bold type: “What makes the difference between man and all the rest of the animal creation? Every beast that strays beside me has the same corporeal necessities with myself; he is hungry and crops the AD COURTESY OF THE BERNARD AND AUDRE RAPOPORT FOUNDATION 5400 Bosque Blvd., Suite 245 Bernard Rapoport Chairman of the Board grass, he is thirsty and drinks the stream, his thirst and hunger are appeased, he is satisfied and sleeps; he rises again and is hungry, he is again fed and is at rest. I am hungry or thirsty like him, but when thirst or hunger cease, I am not at rest; I am like him pained with want, but am not, like him satisfied with fullness.” Yes, if we were all satisfied with fullness, we could afford national health for the American citizenry and most of all, a great educational system. One of the most serious deterrents to progress is the mind stagnation that ensues the moment the subject of taxes is mentioned. Most politicians equivocate and give the usual response, “I’m against raising taxes”mistakenly, I submit, because it is assumed that the listener has a closed mind, and does not understand that tax moneys can be an investment that can provide social and economic profit. Their attitude makes as much sense as a business CEO having a closed mind when considering allotting assets to an investment opportunity that will bring profit to the enterprise. Likewise, this is equally applicable as it relates to us as individual citizens. This article was originally published in the July 20 edition of the Waco TribuneHerald. Dialogue, continued from page 2 APOCALYPTIC VISIONS Robert D. King’s essay in the Bernard Rapoport ad \(“Don’t Count on Euapocalyptic vision of Israel and the United States at war alone against the Arab world does accurately reflect what seems to be the dominant view in the Bush Administration, Imperial America. But it runs absolutely counter to what the United States and Judaism/Israel represent. Mr. King seems to take his desperate conclusion lightly, as if it were both inevitable and proper. It goes without saying that thus far our nation’s “war on terror” is anything but proper. We seem to bring punishment and devastation on the innocent as well as the evil. We’re making it a war against nations and peoples rather than a campaign against thuggish terrorist criminals. But most significantly we seem not even close to finding ways to help peoples, societies, and states find ways of teaching/learning how to be neighbors as opposed to nourishing hatred. And that in1/4:ludes our own society. Mr. King seems oblivious to the fact that Israel, like the United States, makes mistakes. He seems to have no grasp of the reality that as Israel is not to be destroyed by terrorism, neither will the Palestinians be destroyed by state violence, occupation, and the ultimate destruction of hope through perpetuation and extension of settlements. The saddest reality is what the United States and Israel are doing to themselves in this “war.” Perhaps I give too much credence to Mr. King’s declaration. After all, he acknowledges that he’s first a linguist. But his views appear over the imprimatur of a man who for all his life has been a builder, a conceiver and promoter of solutions to a more progressive, peaceful, and just world. I would urge B. to share his suggestions, his wisdom, in subsequent TO ads. Boyce Vardiman West 12th STREET BOOKS yam .1c/taw+ oat aef Aciot 827 West 12th Street Austin, TX 2 blocks east of Lamar Monday-Saturday 10-6 512.499.8828 8130102 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 11