A Tale of Two Wars
We are in the midst of two on-going wars: the Class War and the Culture War. But the battles do not have names like Gettysburg or the Battle of the Bulge. The current battles are over Death Tax repeal, Capital Gains Tax reduction and the Boy Scouts.
The “haves,” who pay property taxes in life, do not understand why their heirs have to be taxed by their death. All too often, their heirs can’t afford to pay the Death Tax and must sell the family farm or ranch to pay the IRS.
Historically, the Death or Estate Tax was invented by the English Crown so lands in tax default would revert to the King. Now, farms and ranches that must be sold for taxes often “revert” to big developers who build expensive second homes for the wealthy. Is this the Law of Unintended Consequences at work or what?
The “have-nots” argue that Death Tax revenues are only 1.3 percent of the federal budget and are not a heavy burden. Tell that to some family that just had to sell the family farm or ranch to pay the Death Tax.
Sixty-five Democrats voted with the Republicans to phase out the Death Tax. Now, they must help the GOP override Bill Clinton’s recent veto of Death Tax repeal or stick with Clinton-Gore and hand the Republicans a major election-year issue.
Prior to the great stock market boom that began with the Reagan Revolution, the rank and file workers who make up Big Labor felt the Capital Gains Tax was the appropriate treatment for “fat cat” investors. But now that their company and union retirement funds are so heavily invested in the booming stock market, millions of working-class Americans are the “fat cats.” They are faced with the reality of having to pay the Capital Gains Tax. They don’t like for their Ox to be “Gored,” and so working-class Americans are increasingly in favor of Capital Gains Tax repeal.
As we approach the November presidential election, it will be interesting to see who votes for George W. Bush (who wants both Capital Gains and Death Taxes repealed) and who votes for Al Gore who supports the Death Tax and Capital Gains Taxes. Will Big Labor’s rank and file break ranks over the Capital Gains Tax issue or will they do the bidding of the union bosses and vote for Al Gore?
Another Class War battle will be over a possible pre-election, government shutdown. Clinton-Gore will claim the GOP-proposed budget isn’t big enough to solve the problems of the “have-nots.” So, look for Clinton-Gore to force the Republicans to chose between looking like stingy misers (class warfare) or agreeing to massive government spending that would alienate their conservative base.
The latest Culture War battle involves the Boy Scouts. The Left’s intermediate objective has to do with Gay Rights; however, the main objective is the destruction of an organization that represents the manly virtues so highly regarded by the Right. The Left figures that parents are not likely to put their boys in organizations where the adult leaders are no longer perceived to be proper role models and scouting will die.
Presidential Executive Order 13160 just ordered the executive branch of government to identify any traces of government involvement with or support of Boy Scout activities and eliminate them. The next Boy Scout Jamboree is slated to be held on land controlled by the Bureau of Reclamation. Look for that agreement to be cancelled.
Recall, how the coal miners of yore carried a canary in a cage down into the mines. If toxic air caused the canary to keel over, the miners knew to flee for the surface. The Boy Scouts have become the “canary” of the Culture War. If the Left can kill off the Boy Scouts, some feel the Left will have won the Culture War.
November 7th is the big battle. The outcome depends on who fights and who is AWOL.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.