Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Humour between Politicians

Rep. Gerald Lange, D-Madison, has earned a reputation during his eight terms in the Legislature as a well and widely read person. He peppers his testimony with verbal footnotes, as in this observation when the House Taxation Committee considered a bill about renters and property taxes.

"I was reminded of Adam Smith and his classical 'The Wealth of Nations,' 1776," Lange said. "One third of his book is about taxation, and he comes down on the fact that it should be simple and certain, and this is so contorted and complicated that it doesn't qualify at all for this great book of Western civilization."

Rep. Joel Dykstra, R-Canton, serving his second term, listened, then said, "I always appreciate the lecture on Adam Smith from Representative Lange because although I've read Adam Smith, I didn't know him personally."

We should appreciate a bit of humour involving Adam Smith, especially when it comes from politicians, in this case Congressmen in the US. Though with characteristic political hyperbole, while the joke was great, the arithmetic was in error. Taxation takes up 128 pages in “Wealth of Nations”, about 13.5 per cent of the total 945 pages, not thirty-three per cent. However, when it comes to numbers in taxation, politicians always state it is less than anything it actually ends up costing and more than any number they claim they take from taxpayers’ incomes.

Story from Argus Leader.com: Sioux Falls leading web site, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA courtesy of TERRY WOSTER (
(read it: http://www.argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060206/NEWS04/602060326/1001/NEWS)


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