Strib conservative: taxes are bad. The Minneapolis Star Tribune, trying to balance a perceived bias in the political leanings of its columnists, is now showcasing an overtly conservative columnist. The first go-round by Katherine Kersten, a senior fellow of the Center of the American Experiment, is a doozy. She tells the local Catholic archbishop a thing or two about helping the poor. Archbishop Harry Flynn told Minnesota's no-new-taxes governor (who's working to enact a 10-cent/gallon gasoline "users fee" and a 75-cent/pack cigarette "health impact fee") that if he cared about the plight of the poor, he'd raise taxes. Kersten's belief is that "high taxes actually harm people: working families and the poor, most of all." In a bit of overblown rhetoric, she cites a luxury boat tax that didn't help the poor because it sent wealthy yacht purchaser out of the country to buy boats. Isn't it a tad hyperbolic to compare a luxury-cruiser tax with a small income tax increase shared by all to help fund social services? Are Minnesotans going to become South Dakotans to avoid minor tax increases?

Perhaps my favorite part of her party-line taxes-are-bad screed (1,000+ words! Almost unheard of for a Strib columnist):
In country after country, "compassion-driven" welfare states, founded on high taxes, have harmed ordinary people by producing levels of unemployment we would consider catastrophic. Europe's high tax burden is one reason that, on average, living standards in the European Union are not far above those of the poorest American states: West Virginia and Mississippi.
Please. I'm not a scholar of eastern European economies, but I suspect that some of the newer eastern EU countries are dealing with more complex issues—historical, ethnic, and geographic, not to mention the changing nature of European manufacturing—that contribute to standard-of-life issues. But without offering evidence or defining how she's measuring living standards, her argument is nearly meaningless.

Then she gets smarmy, giving the bishop the inside scoop on poverty: "Archbishop Flynn might want to have a chat with someone who understands the role of human dignity in combating poverty... Rudy Giuliani."

Then, after establishing her credibility as a Catholic—"of which I am one"—she goes on to say, "When religious figures give advice on economic policy, we'd do well to remember that they lack any special expertise on such matters."

Kersten included.

(Via The Blotter.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What does that woman smoke or ingest and what was it contaminated with? Rudy Guliani, combating poverty, and human dignity all in the same sentence?

Perhaps she should ask that the Archbishop educate her on the value of an informed conscience and Catholic teaching on the Beatitudes!