Wynton Hall

Who pays the business tax anyway? We do! You can’t tax business. Business doesn’t pay taxes. It collects taxes. And if they can’t be passed on to the customer in the price of the product as a cost of operation, business goes out of business. Now what they’re going to do is make it easier for demagogic politicians–and you’ve got plenty of them in the state legislature–to say to the people, look, we need money for this worthwhile project but we’re not going to tax you, we’re going to tax business, now that we can do it by a one vote margin. So they’ll tax business and the price of the product will go up and the people will blame the storekeeper for the rise in the price of the product, not recognizing that all he’s doing is passing on to them a hidden sales tax.

If people need any more concrete explanation of this, start with the staff of life, a loaf of bread. The simplest thing; the poorest man must have it. Well, there are 151 taxes now in the price of a loaf of bread–it accounts for more than half the of a loaf of bread. It begins with the first tax, on the farmer that raised the wheat. Any simpleton can understand that if that farmer cannot get enough money for his wheat, to pay the property tax on his farm, he can’t be a farmer. He loses his farm. And so it is with the fellow who pays a driver’s license and a gasoline tax to drive the truckload of wheat to the mill, the miller who has to pay everything from social security tax, business license, everything else. He has to make his living over and above those costs. So they all wind up in that loaf of bread. Now an egg isn’t far behind and nobody had to make that. There’s a hundred taxes in an egg by the time it gets to market and you know the chicken didn’t put them there!

They didn’t call Ronald Reagan the Great Communicator for nothing. That’s a pretty amazing quote, isn’t it? Especially in light of the recent financial meltdown and the rationale used to justify a $700 billion bailout. But here’s what’s even more amazing: Ronald Reagan said those words in July 1975, a full five years before winning the White House. Put simply, Reagan stayed “on message” for years and didn’t relent.

Reagan understood that you have to teach voters why Leftist policies are wrongheaded. He also understood that you have to pound home a message before it will stick.

Rebuilding the conservative message will demand that the next generation of conservative leaders do the same.


Wynton Hall

Wynton Hall is a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and author of "The Right Words: Great Republican Speeches That Shaped History".

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