Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Good Tax

Once upon a time in the land of Yor were a very peaceful and wealthy people who were mostly not very quarrelsome but for one controversy. The king had placed a tax on the sale of Cows. Anyone who sold a cow had to give the king 90% of the proceeds of the sale. As a result while there was a lot of demand for meat, as hardly anyone sold their cow, and many who were tired of caring and feeding their cow very much resented the tax on selling it.

Now anyone who had a cow could sell the milk, and many who did not actually own a cow usually got paid a percentage that milk, or occasionally they would get a calf. The tax on a calf was high but calves were cheap and abundant so the king's percentage was not a lot in total money, and when cows got old and stopped producing milk, there was nothing for it but to sell it to the butcher and pay the kings price, though the percentage was reduced for very old cattle.

In the end all the cattle ended up with the butcher, just not until they were very old, so meat had a price that allowed the butcher a living, but he felt that if he got all the proceeds, he could live like a king. Now the king had an evil twin that had been banished, and headed up a Gang Of Pirates beyond the Pale, but he made a deal with the butchers, that if they overthrew the old king the twin would eliminate the hated Cow Tax.

So the butchers, with the help of those folk who were tired of caring for their cattle, or resented the percentage of the milk taken by those who did, got together and overthrew the old king. The new king, being evil after all, turned to his Gang Of Pirates to buy the cattle as they had the gold, and the butchers could get their cattle at well under the market price and on credit to the pirates, that was paid off as the meat sold.

At first things looked very good, meat became very abundant and cheap, the butchers were making killings at a tremendous clip, and becoming almost as wealthy as the Pirates, though with the falling price of meat and the Pirates percentages not as well as expected. Those who sold the cattle felt suddenly wealthy and loaned the pirates their money on the promise it would make more than they made from the milk. Only those who had made their living actually caring for the cattle felt left out as the numbers of cattle to care for became far fewer, while their own numbers and needs did not.

As the number of cattle became less there were fewer calvs as well and their price went up dramatically. The Pirates offered an easily solution by loaning the money to buy the calves, and noted that the price would be very much higher if there was still a Cow Tax, but the loans would be very short so the cattle would have to be sold for meat at a very young age when the note came due, and of course the pirates had it written that they got the cow as payment.

Over a bit ot time the excess meat was consumed, and the price went to an all time high, as there were far less cattle about. Milk that was once plentiful and cheap also became much more expensive. Those who cared for the cattle had to do so for far less of a percentage of the milk as there were far more caretakers than cattle now. Between the fewer cattle and the percentages paid to the Pirates who were now the primary cattle owners, the butchers were also not much better if at all than before.

Those formerly caring for cattle began to steal and rob out of desperation, so the evil king blamed them for all the troubles, even as he hired some of their numbers as guards, that were mostly used to come down very harshly on anyone who commented on how much better things were under the old king, holding fake show trials calling these folk the leaders of the criminals.

Eventually the people rose up and threw out the evil king, but the now very wealthy Pirates had moved on to ply their trade to Hither and to Yon, the palace already looted, and the people were left hating the Cow Tax as the cause of their misery, and the land of Yor never again became a place anyone wanted to be like.


  1. Fetching! I think the metaphor could benefit from the introduction of cow-hands and cow-maids, who fed, cleaned, watered and milked the cows of Yor.

    Then those who tended to the beloved cows' health and well-being could have been shown to have little control over each cow's ultimate fate. And because the allure of a short-term sale grew quickly under the evil twin's low-tax regime, farm-owners cared much less about a cow's long-term health and its production of high-quality milk. These issues became secondary to keeping near-term costs low in order to make a larger, quick profit at the butcher shop.

    Thus, long-term approaches to cow health came to be viewed as amateur and passe. Quick-fix, facade-improving efforts were regularized, like repeated oiling of mangy skin, bleaching the teeth, tongues and scleras, and high-fat diets (to yield more weight on the butcher's scale, but detrimental to a cow's health). Many hard-working cow-hands and cow-maids had no choice but to watch as their beloved cows, one by one, deteriorated before being shipped to bloody butcher blocks.

    All of this, before many farms were shut down, and those farmers lived large off the earnings.

  2. If you follow the reality behind the metaphor the farmers of those cash cows did not do so well at the end either, a big hit when the cow was sold ( and for less that it would appear before hand) but interest on cash is nowhere near as profitable as a cash cow, and with the games practiced by the Gang Of Pirates (Enron was famous but only a tiny part) that dream of living large fades very quickly as well. The big players of American industry are off to China, but many midrange businessmen are near as bad off as their workers, and as the part about the calves went, cannot easily start a new business due to a lack of infrastructure of other small businesses that would have provided parts and materials in the past.

  3. To see a very detailed description of the Gang Of Pirates in action the BBC did a great blow by blow in their TV miniseries the Matfair set




One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility,
kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

"Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

from an old tale.

The Golden Rule
“That which is hateful to you do not do to another ... the rest (of the Torah) is all commentary, now go study.”

- Rabbi Hillel



The self made man just isn't admitting how or where he came by all those parts

---FreeDem---- Aug 2005


If a man tells you that the Government cannot accomplish anything of value, then voting for him would be like hiring an Amish Auto Mechanic.
If they don't believe in the concept, they are more than likely to do a very poor job of it.

---Bob Danforth Sept. 2009


Republicans never meant to cut government waste, fraud and graft, from the get-go their plan was to organize, monopolize and privatize waste, fraud and graft.

They see the civil service as meddling “middleman,” who interfered with the free flow of cash from taxpayers into corporate coffers. Their intent was to eliminate the “middleman” as an obstruction to corruption.

---Unknown rabblerowser Feb 2007


No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices.

Edward R. Murrow

In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, brave, hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, however, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot

Mark Twain


You see, we often get noncreative leaders, people most interested in preserving their own positions. They flock around centers of power. Such centers attract people who can be corrupted. That is a more descriptive observation than to say simply that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

If you are corruptible and your imagination is confined to worries about loss of power, you exist in a self-destructive system. Eventually, as all life does, you must encounter something you did not anticipate, and if you have not strengthened your creative resources, you will have no new ways for adapting to change. Adapt or die, that's the first rule of survival.

The limited vision of noncreative people is not difficult to understand. Creativity frightens the unimaginative. They don't know what's happening. Things new and unexpected arise from creativity. This threatens "things as they are." And (terrible thought) it undermines illusions of omnipotence.


Herbert 1984 (the year not the book)


"News is what powerful people want to keep hidden; everything else is just publicity."

....Bill Moyer


Just as having only a hammer makes every problem either look like a nail, or as something irrelevant, our very technological skills have had us look there for explanations and ignore reality it cannot deal with. With our powerful hammer, we seek only nails, and dump the rest as dross. Not all questions involve hammers, not all answers are nails.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

My issue with Atheists is not that they have no God, there are many religions that have no God, but that they have no religion.
-- Freedem---Nov., 2006

__Note: by this I mean that there are many things religions do besides the discredited "science" and self serving promises (give me your money and God will hold and pay the note), many like charity or fellowship, even social accountability can be very good things not requiring a God.


Many have been very disappointed that their "God-critter" was not to be found as a technology swimming about in the shallower pools of knowledge. So in the obsession basic to our culture, we search ever deeper and more difficult pools, and always the "God-critter" seems to wink at us from the pool just beyond.

In the process we have found technologies beyond the wildest dreams of our most sophisticated ancestors. The great joke is that the "critter" never existed except as the pools themselves.

----Freedem --- Oct 2006

Indeed I do think that many folk, believe all kinds of stuff from the actually true, to the utterly illogical, with no personal discernment one from the others. But that would hardly make any of them a scholar to rely on, any more that one should get their theology studies from a door to door salesman, offering "get out of hell free" cards, on special because the creator of galaxies in greater numbers than beach sand, nonetheless has an ego so weak He cannot exist without shamelessly excessive psychophancy from a major portion of the inhabitants of this particular dust speck.

----Freedem ---June-2007

More to come