Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 22, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 22, 2012 

HOWARD Hays As I See It

PHIL Kerpen


 “I’m not going to have anyone to play with.”

 - Student at Sandy Hook Elementary after being told he’d lost his sister

 On Friday morning a demented man invaded an elementary school, and his 
targets were the students. 22 became victims, with four rushed to the hospital for 
intensive care. But nobody died. There were no dead children.

 This took place in Xinyang, 360 miles south of Beijing. The weapon was a knife 
– the weapon of choice because, according to the L.A. Times, “China has strict gun 

 In his column last week, Greg Welborn blamed high federal taxation for the fact 
“$1.7 trillion that could otherwise be put to use employing people, expanding businesses, starting 
new product lines, etc., is sitting in some foreign bank account . . .” 

 I have a response:

 If it were indeed “put to use employing people, expanding businesses, starting new product lines, 
etc.”, it wouldn’t be taxed. Taxation comes when it’s taken as salary, bonuses and dividend checks. 
And, as I see it, dividends and capital gains should be taxed as high as income earned by those who 
work for it – as it was under President Reagan.

 I read other comments last week. Responding to the Newtown, CT slaughter, former Gov. Mike 
Huckabee (R-AR) blames us for having “systematically removed God from our schools.” Rep. Louis 
Gohmert (R-TX), referring to Sandy Hook’s slain principal, commented, “I wish to God she had had 
an M-4 in her office.” 

 I have a response for these people, too:

 Just shut up.

 Piers Morgan on CNN also had had enough. As a gun proponent asserted, “the only way to stop 
an evil person . . . is to shoot him”, Morgan interrupted: “This is exactly the argument that I’ve been 
hearing ever since I joined CNN ... about a week after Gabby Giffords, a congresswoman, was shot in 
the head. Why, since then we’ve had the Sikh temple, the Aurora incident, we had the shopping mall 
last week ... the argument I keep hearing is, ‘Well, if everybody else was armed, it wouldn’t happen.’ 
It’s a load of total hogwash . . . 

 “There are nearly twelve thousand murders a year from guns in this country. When are you guys 
going to focus on that? And stop telling me, the answer is more guns ... How many more kids have to 
die before you guys say, ‘we want less guns, not more’? ... I’m so frustrated, I’m so furious, that these 
kids have been blown away - again with legally acquired weapons. Some boy who’s got problems takes 
his mother’s three weapons, including this ridiculous assault rifle, and goes into this school and kills 
these kids, and you guys in the gun lobby still want to tell me the answer is more guns!”

 The “ridiculous” weapon is the .223 cal. Bushmaster semiautomatic used to kill the children. The 
gun had been prohibited, but became legal again after the 1994 assault weapons ban was allowed to 
expire under President Bush.

 Nancy Lanza was apparently a decent, law-abiding mother living comfortably on her $289,000 
yearly alimony, was devoted to her sons, and was really into guns. Had it not been legal to do so, she 
probably wouldn’t have owned a .223 Bushmaster, it wouldn’t have been there for her son Adam to 
grab and take to Sandy Hook Elementary, and there wouldn’t have been as many first-graders’ lives 
to grieve over. 

 Bushmaster is part of Freedom Group, which includes Remington and DPMS Firearms - the 
country’s largest manufacturer of military-style semi-automatics, or, as they refer to them, “modern 
sporting rifles”.

 Freedom Group boasts a market increase of 27% between 2007 and 2011: “The continued adoption 
of the modern sporting rifle has led to increased growth in the long gun market, especially with a 
younger demographic of users.” Ads for the Bushmaster proclaim that with its purchase, you can 
“Consider Your Man Card Reissued”.

 Any sleep lost by company execs is not over the roadkill of dead children, but the impact on sales. 
Freedom Group took in $775 million from guns and ammo last year, but warns, “No assurance can be 
given that more restrictive regulations, if proposed or enacted, will not have a material adverse effect 
on us in the future.”

 Lobbyists manufacture myths and purchase politicians to ensure no schoolroom slaughter 
interferes with profit projections. The NRA took in $227 million in 2010; $100 million from 4 million 
members, but most from gun makers relying on it to promote talking points convincing us that more 
guns equals less crime, the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to superior firepower over local 
police, and President Obama’s determined to leave us defenseless facing the coming apocalypse.

 The NRA spent more than $18.6 million last election cycle to convince us guns are not the 
problem. Polls, however, show that Americans no longer believe redistributing our nation’s wealth to 
the top 1% leads to “trickle down” for the rest of us; they no longer believe global warming is a “hoax” 
perpetrated by liberal academics; they no longer believe (if they ever did) that making it more difficult 
for crooks and crazies to access lethal firepower infringes on Constitutional rights.

 In his comments in Newtown, President Obama said, “all the world’s religions” ask, “Why are we 
here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?” He answered his own question 
earlier in his remarks when he said, “caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, 
we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.”

 It’s whether to protect our children or protect the profits of the makers of the .223 Bushmaster 
“modern sporting rifle”. If the lives, as the president described them, of “twenty beautiful children 
and six remarkable adults” don’t lead us to the right decision, then I don’t know what will.

There is not a majority in the House of Representatives to support a tax plan 
that would raise taxes on any taxpayers – not even the much-maligned “millionaires 
and billionaires.” But that does not mean the House has acquiesced 
to the automatic tax hikes on every taxpayer slated for January 1. In stark 
contrast to the failure of “Plan B,” the House already succeeded in passing 
its “Plan A” back in August: H.R. 8. That bill would extend all current tax 
rates for one year, while committing to comprehensive tax reform in 2013. 
It passed the House on a rock solid 256-171 vote, with 19 Democrats joining 
237 Republicans.

The Senate has taken no action on the bill. Harry Reid did, for show, pass a 
Senate bill to raise taxes above $200,000 only, as favored by President Obama. 
But that bill, S. 3412, violated the Constitution’s requirement that revenue bills 
originate in the House. It would be legally void even if it did pass the House, which it won’t. 

So now the ball is in Harry Reid’s court. H.R. 8 is the bill that passed the House. It’s the only duly-
enacted bill to pass either chamber. He should call it up, amend it – if he can – and appoint conferees 
to reach a final agreement. President Obama will almost certainly sign any deal that can pass the 
House and Senate.

The economic stakes are huge. Boehner’s Plan B millionaire tax would have done significant damage 
to the U.S. economy. The Tax Foundation estimated the long-run impact of Plan B and found it would 
knock 0.92 percent off of GDP. That’s less than a third of the 2.88 percent that Obama’s plan would 
shave off the U.S. economy, but it’s still considerable. The do nothing option? That’s really ugly. Allowing 
taxes to rise on all Americans as contemplated under current law would mean a 9.61 percent hit 
to GDP, along with a 7.35 percent decline in wages and a 23 percent drop in private business stocks.

Now the insistence of House Republicans to make this all-or-nothing must infuriate Democrats, especially 
President Obama, who famously explained he would support higher taxes on capital even 
if they hurt the economy so much that they resulted in lower revenues. He said “fairness” was more 

But like it or not, the American people elected a House of Representatives that is committed to stopping 
all tax hikes. They are so committed that they refuse to put their fingerprints on a deal to raise 
taxes on some even if it means risking automatic tax increases on all. Speaker Boehner tried his best 
to alter this reality for the sake of compromise. He couldn’t. So this is the reality Obama and Reid 
must deal with.

Why would Reid and Obama insist on tax hikes for everyone in this context? The economic suffering 
would be serious and widespread. They have repeatedly claimed that current rates should be extended 
for 98 percent of Americans. The intransigence of House Republicans has set up a scenario in which 
we’ll either have economically destructive tax hikes on every American, or we’ll postpone all the tax 
hikes for a year while we move forward on comprehensive tax reform. Democrats should do the right 
thing for the U.S. economy and choose the latter option.

Mr. Kerpen is the president of American Commitment and the author of “Democracy Denied.” Kerpen 
can be reached at

WILL Durst Raging Moderate


And now let us speak of the current lame-duck session of the 112th Congress. 
Daily we witness the death throes of the final assemblage of this particular group 
of elected representatives on Capitol Hill, and of course they’re spending these last 
precious moments together marshaling all their skills to put the American ship in 
order. Hahahahahaha. 

Yeah. Right. Dream on, big river. Mostly what’s happening is just your typical 
frantic running around with waving arms and high-pitched wailing about an impending catastrophe. 
Looming doom. Again. Specifically, this time, the imminent approach of that dastardly dreaded fiscal 
cliff. Congress has turned into the Little Boys & Girls Who Cried Ruin. 

Calm yourselves, kiddies, it’s not really a cliff. More of a slim slope or bit of a ditch. A minor incline. 
Slight slant. Not even close to a chasm. Nor a gorge. Shall we say a term berm. A shallow gully beribboned 
with a multitude of dirt walking paths. Unlike what they’ve led us to believe, it’s less a screaming 
plunge off a sheer precipice and more of a stroll on a knoll with a coal-colored foal. 

Do not be alarmed. America isn’t looking at a financial Thelma and Louise here. Although you can 
bet Grover Norquist would be willing to sit in the driver’s seat and steer straight for the bottom of the 
Grand Canyon as long as he could hold hands with his “no tax ever” pledgers. And all of America 
would bemoan the loss… of the ‘66 Thunderbird. 

You got to hand it our representatives. The way they make every calamity seem fresh and new and 
calamitous. Everybody in D.C. has memorized their moves in the Washington Waltz. John Boehner 
complains the president won’t budge. The president counters that Boehner is beholden to a radical 
fringe. Liberals wait for conservatives to put entitlements on the table so they won’t be the bad 
guys. Republicans man the barricades to protect their donors. One step forward. One step back. 

It’s an artificial crisis. Something our country’s politicians specialize in. If the Bush tax cuts do expire 
on December 31, they can always be voted back in. Even if it takes till February, it can be done 
retroactively. For everybody. Or for those making less than 250k. Or a million. Whatever. Problem 
is, they’d rather be photographed slapping a baby than go on record voting for or against any sort of 
compromise, and are more than happy out in the yard playing kick the can until it gets too dark to see. 
Preferably, kick it through the open portal of a time machine into the distant future. 

These folks are as useless as a Viagra dispenser at a eunuchs’ convention. Lame duck doesn’t do them 
justice. Comatose vultures perhaps. Brain-damaged geese. Biologically deformed Pterodactyl fossils 
encased in an amber pool of irrelevance, obsolescence and guilt. Whoa! OK. We’re done. Wait, one 
more. Quadriplegic platypuses. 

Then, on January 3 a new Congress will swagger into town, and before they’re finished redecorating 
their offices, it’ll become patently obvious the onus is on their anus to put the deficit can back in 
play. And if they need some ideas of where to place that can, we, their constituents, have more than a 
couple of choice locations in mind. 

Five-time Emmy nominee Will Durst’s new e-book, “Elect to Laugh!” published by Hyperink, now available 
at, Amazon or any fine virtual book retailer near you. 

And don’t forget the 20th Annual Big Fat Year End Kiss Off Comedy Show, Dec. 26-Jan. 1. 6 comics. 
7 cities. 8 shows. Details at facebook or 20th Annual!

Will Durst is a political comedian who has performed around the world. He is a familiar pundit on 
television and radio. E-mail Will at Check out for the latest 
podcast. Will Durst’s book, "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing," is available from Amazon 
and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Don’t forget to check out his rooftop comedy minutes 

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