Hilarious. Absolutely hilarious.
House Speaker John Boehner has sent out a memo to fellow House Republicans in which he updates the current situation and attempts to bathe his party’s efforts in the reflected nobility of President Abraham Lincoln, the most famous Republican of all.
A NOBLE PURPOSE: BALANCING FOR GROWTH AND WHY IT MATTERS
There should be no doubt that our purpose in calling for a balanced budget is a noble one, and the right one.
The book Congressman Lincoln by Chris DeRose, which I recently read, includes a chapter focused on Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to help craft a new national agenda. At one point in the book, young Lincoln warns that government debt is “growing with a rapidity fearful to contemplate.”
“[Government debt] is a system not only ruinous while it lasts, but one that must soon fail and leave us destitute,” Lincoln warns his countrymen in Congressman Lincoln. “An individual who undertakes to live by borrowing, soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and next no one left to borrow from — so must it be with a government.”
Lincoln’s words ring true today, perhaps to a degree greater than ever before.”
Yes, they certainly do ring true. Because as Luke Johnson of Huffington Post astutely points out, the Lincoln quote as presented by Boehner is a bit truncated. In the original, our most revered Republican goes on in the very next sentence to write:
“We repeat, then, that a tariff sufficient for revenue, or a direct tax, must soon be resorted to, and indeed we believe this alternative is now denied by no one.”
In the sentence before the Boehner selection, Lincoln also makes his stance clear. The debt that he condemns so strongly “has been produced by a prevailing unwillingness to either to increase the tariff or resort to direct taxation,” the future president wrote.
Then, for the icing on the cake, Lincoln argues strongly for raising the necessary revenue through a tariff on imported luxury goods, because through the preferred tariff “the burthen of revenue falls almost entirely on the wealthy and luxurious few, while the substantial and laboring many … go entirely free.”
He opposes the direct, or property, tax for much the same reason, because under that system, the little guy gets hit hard. “However strictly the citizen may exclude from his premises all foreign luxuries — fine cloths, fine silks, rich wines, golden chains and diamond rings — still, for the possession of his house, his barn, his homespun, he is to be perpetually haunted and harassed by the tax-gatherer.”
As Thomas Jefferson used to say, “Now you know … the rest of the story!”
– Jay Bookman