The editor’s opinion from Marketplace, Northeast Wisconsin’s business magazine. (Obligatory disclaimer: Most hyperlinks go to outside sites, and we’re not responsible for their content. And like fresh watermelon, peaches, pineapple, grapefruit, tomatoes and sweet corn, hyperlinks can go bad after a while.)
April 23, 2008
Journalist, heal thyself
Apparently, the Wausau Daily Herald did not read this blog, because the newspaper’s opinionmongers have decided that what we overtaxed Wisconsinites really need is … another tax increase, specifically in beer taxes. This will, say the editorialists, halve the state budget deficit (because apparently cutting spending is never an option), and deal with the problems “associated with Wisconsin culture of alcohol abuse,” and, hey, “most people wouldn’t even notice a 20 cents-a-gallon tax increase.”
It is instructive to note that newspapers that editorialize in favor of tax increases don’t mention tax increases that would directly affect them. No newspaper would, for instance, suggest that sales taxes be extended to single-copy or subscription purchases of their own newspaper. Only a guest columnist in Isthmus in Madison, who actually believes that “taxes are part of what makes Wisconsin a great place to live,” suggested a sales tax on advertising; I wonder how the publisher of Isthmus, a free newspaper that gets all of its revenue from advertising, feels about that.
I will, of course, be an advocate of none of the proposed tax increases listed here. In fact, I am more likely to be struck dead by lightning (odds approximately 1 in 1 million), win the Powerball jackpot (odds 1 in 146,107,962), or replace Brett Favre at quarterback (odds … well, you can’t count that high) than favor any tax increase in this space. (Other than my modest tax proposal, that is.) No social problem we face today, including the aforementioned “Wisconsin culture of alcohol abuse,” will be solved by throwing more money at it, for