Monday, April 11, 2011

Letter to NYTimes of Cowboy Poetry scam

Chicago PM 11 April 2011

Editors, The New York Times


The New York Times article “Cowboy Poets...” of Sunday 10 April refers to the Elko Nevada “annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering... that... receives some money from the federal government.” The amount of money is later referred to as “someplace between small and minuscule,” but even further on as “about $45,000” every year.

Even this small amount... has “been mocked by Sarah Palin on Twitter” and on "Rush Limbaugh’s show,” but has been defended by poetry suporters as “trying to supporterssuntain of a mosuppressantsrban and uninformed.” (Cowboy poetry supporters, take heart. There is no more urban institution than the New York Times, and they seem to be in your back pocket.)

But has anyone considered that of the US population of 310,233,000 there is room for 51,000 other local festivals with 6,000 attendees each. If the federal government gives each one of them $45,000, you have spent over $2.25 billion , and everyone knows what Senator Everett Dirksen said about “a billion here, a billion there....”

When Congress appropriated $15,000 to help some French refugees in 1794, James Madison... said he “could not take to lay his finger on that article in the Constitution that allows Congress to take the money of its constituents for the purposes of benevolence.”

What would the father of the Constitution think taking constituents' money for a Cowboy poetry festival?span>

You would think that when voters paid their federal taxes, they might consider whether things like a Cowboy Poetry Festival were worth paying taxes for. But since the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943, wage earners don't write checks to the government for their income taxes – their employers do it for them. This has resulted in the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States showing in 2009, 37% of all federal income came from employers bank accounts. Since all employers must send these checks in, there is no competitive reason for not adding the total cost to the price of their products, thus changing a major source of federal income from the respossibility of voters to a silent national sales tax.

Cowboy poetry festival? Why not – it's free.

If you eliminate withholding of federal income taxes, requiring individual voters to send a check to the federal government every month for 20% of their take home pay, you would see the last of vote buying scams like the Cowboy Poetry festival.

Arnold H Nelson