Greatest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Op-Ed Ever

January 12, 2010

Every once in awhile something intelligent slips past the Milwaukee JS editors and you wind up reading a great editorial piece. Sure you have to sift through Eugene Kane’s liberal crap but now and again you get editorials like this one:

Not So High on Big Government

I stopped abusing drugs in 1992.

I’m not boasting. It’s just that every so often I get mail from the government, and after reading it, I have to reassure myself that I’m not still stoned out of my freaking mind.

When mission-critical service providers to the Gravelle household such as Cinemax or Maxim Magazine send a notice saying, “Your subscription rate is going up five dollars,” you know how much my bill will go up? Five dollars. I can pretty much do that sort of math in my head all day without hurting myself, thanks to my rigorous publik skooling.

But when my government mail reads, “Your property tax rate went up 82 cents. Send us another 200 bucks,” I feel like I just took a bong hit. My eyes get red, my pupils dilate, I feel disoriented and I start saying “whoa” and “dude” a lot.

Obviously, there is a big difference between cable television and the government. One is replete with gratuitous boobs and the other is a media entertainment service. I, for one, could probably survive longer without most of government than without my high-definition TV channels. Have you seen Olivia Wilde on “House” in HD? Whoa. Dude.

From time to time, I accept speaking engagements to talk to schoolkids about drugs, which I’m happy to do if it’s cool with their parents and my parole officer. (I’m kidding, of course. His title is “probation officer.”) I tell children that the key to quitting anything addictive is first recognizing your cycle of dependency. By blowing money on a quick fix for short-term euphoria, you’re robbing yourself of the long-term happiness that independence from your addiction provides.

Apply that message to drug abuse, and you’re a role model. But correlate it with dependency on the government, and you’re radical, and you’re anti-social, and you’re . . . well, you’re me.

It’s bizarre. Tell some people you quit using drugs and bought a condo, and you become a motivational speaker for their offspring. Brag that you quit using public transportation and bought a sports car, and they gasp in indignant horror, even though in both cases you’ve taken more individual responsibility for yourself while diminishing your burden on society.

Their subjective distinction between that you were a burden on society and how you were a burden on society baffles me. Not as much as government math baffles me, but close.

My comparison between bureaucrats and drug dealers is admittedly unfair, and I should probably apologize if I’ve offended any pushers. A crackhead walking away from “his man” has an easier go of it than say, Germantown did when trying to escape the Milwaukee Area Technical Colleges’s regional taxing authority.

Perhaps you’ll disagree with me. Maybe you think that during the worst economic downturn since the Carter administration, it’s a good idea to boost the tax bill for our fixed-income, elderly or widowed homeowners by a couple hundred bucks for (shudder) “the greater common good.” If so, lemme ask you this: What have you been smoking?

I bolded the key line but there is really no further comment needed, I’ll just give this op-ed a standing ovation.


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