I am about to give you the easiest quiz you’ve ever taken.
Here are passages from two different stories about a telephone tax in Los Angeles. One is from the Los Angeles Times, and the other is from the L.A. Daily News. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is simply this: tell me which passage came from the L.A. Times.
a) A proposal designed to maintain a telephone users tax on Los Angeles residents will get its first test today before the City Council.
b) Hoping to avoid huge budget cuts and the slashing of city services, the Los Angeles City Council today took the first step toward asking voters in February to continue paying a telephone utility users tax.
Which one was the L.A. Times?
If you said a, you get the dunce cap and a trip to the corner. With all due respect, you’re too stupid to read this blog. Go away and don’t come back.
But none of you made that silly mistake, did you? You’re savvy enough to realize that in any story about taxes or government budgets, the L.A. Times always, always emphasizes the awful things that might happen if taxes or spending are reduced.
The L.A. Times story is here. The Daily News story is here. If you read through both, you’ll find more examples of pro-tax spin by the L.A. Times — like when the article says: “The council is considering a plan to cut the tax from 10% to 9% on cellular and land-line calls — a savings they hope will make the tax measure more palatable to voters.”
What a deal! Instead of an illegal tax that the courts will almost certainly invalidate, how about a legal tax that is one percentage point lower than the illegal tax? Only trouble is, because the illegal tax is illegal, the legal tax would be nine percentage points higher than the illegal tax. Because, you see, the illegal tax is illegal, meaning we shouldn’t have to pay it at all. As Jon Coupal says: “The constitutional language mandating voter approval is so clear even dissembling elected officials should be able to figure it out.”
No matter: the strategem of calling it a tax reduction is working with the idiots in the focus groups.
[Mayor Villaraigosa’s pollster] Feldman Group also tried to determine whether voters would be more likely to support the telephone tax if it were lowered from 10% to 9%. That concept, pitched as a reduction in taxes, won support from 60% of respondents.
Great. With a little help from the L.A. Times screaming about all the awful things that might happen if we turned off the faucet, maybe we can get this turkey passed, and get back to the business of giving the likes of Tennie Pierce $1.5 million for a few mouthfuls of dog food.
(H/t to KFI loudmouths John and Ken, whom I am rapidly beginning to appreciate.)