The recent hurricane in Florida sucked all the hot humid air out of Texas. It was the first Summer day I can recall that the industrial fans on the floor of Jesus’ Ice House were off, making both the traffic and Bubba seem much louder than usual. Having set records for lows over the week, even Bubba was in a good mood. He got on his most prevalent political rant, that taxation was not only the redistribution of wealth, but thievery and extortion! I mentioned an article I had just read in the back pages of the Houston Chronicle. It seems that the GOP feels that when they win this November, it will be a mandate for them, and with owning all branches of government, the time will be ripe to eliminate income taxes and replace it with a federal sales tax of about 25%. Finally the end to the most terrible bane of the wealthy, progressive taxation. Though the Bush Administration, with the coming election are not drooling over it publicly, but saying it is only an option that needs looking into. Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert is not so moot, he is aglow with the idea, claiming it is both doable and necessary to eliminate all taxes on corporations to be competitive in the New World Market.
Upon hearing this Bubba began go glow in ideological rapture. I tried to penetrate the golden aura around him by suggesting that with the 8% in state sales tax, it meant that Bubba would be paying one third of the price of everything he buys in a regressive tax. That the GOP was going to redistribute the wealth upwards, and extort and steal even more money from him and the rest of the Bubba class than before. No penetration, the glow was locked in. Jesus slid the Chronicle down the bar so Bubba could read the article. After much whooping and hollering as he read, Bubba confronted me with Speaker Hastert’s argument. That because Europe uses VATS and sales taxes, so must we if we want to compete with them. Bubba laughed that the argument was over and he had won. The glow deepened as he explained that if the cowardly socialist welfare state Europeans could do it why couldn’t we? But Bubba, I tried, they can do that because being socialist welfare states they take care of each other; they have far less disparity of wealth than we, their overall tax rate is much higher, they have national health care for all, they have endless unemployment comp and workman’s comp, subsidized housing, meaningful mass transportation, low crime, little violence, safe streets, and almost empty prisons. An alien world of reason and community rather than our world of only gold, guns and God.
That brought an unusual BUENO! BUENO! from Jesus who always tired to hold the middle ground. But even that little kick in the pants could not dissipate the gleeful glow Bubba wallowed in. Contemplating his joy in all those wealthy people getting an 80% tax cut which he and his would have to pay for. Here in Texas we may not be very smart, but we have lots of guns to keep it that way.
What I like best about Jesus’ Ice House are the garage door walls that open it up to the outside world. Though its mostly traffic, its nice to see who is coming and going, and I enjoy the hum of the giant industrial fans on the floor and being able to see my car out front. I also like the scattered, somewhat contradictory signs around the place; No Guns and Trespassers Will Be Shot.
In an argument last night, Bubba got his butt burned again because I am a veteran and he isn’t. Sometimes that weighs on him so heavy he leaves the bar to go out and skulk in his truck for a spell. I noticed him sitting there for a rather long time last night, so I went out to confront him with a little liberal sympathy and understanding. Lighten his load with a bit of humor perhaps. Keep in mind, this is Texas, if I am not nice to selfish bigoted armed stupid conservatives, I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to.
As I approached his truck which he often retreats when on the losing end of an argument, I heard his radio blasting familiar pejoratives: Immigrants! Foreigners! Arabs! Mexicans! French! Europeans! Frogs! Africans! Liberals! Women! All this time I had thought poor Bubba was out there crying in his cups when he was really listening to Michael Savage at 120db. Though disappointed, I tapped on his window no matter. Startled, he turned off the radio faster than he rolled down the window and gave me that pained Bubba look. I stepped back and looked under the vehicle, "Hey Bubba! Lock and load! There are funny looking people who I bet also have funny sounding names under your truck stealing your hula hula mud flaps!"