Favorite

Inequality under arms 

Leona Helmsley was famous for saying “Only little people pay taxes,” and though in her later, post-prison, years she denied having said it, nobody believed the denial. The sentiment sounded too much like her mean, tax-evading, grossly wealthy self. Even if she didn't say it, she believed it.

Nobody has yet recorded George Bush saying “Only little people go to fight for their country,” but he and his upper-class advisers believe it. Having avoided military service themselves, they're determined that the sons of their crowd won't go either. Fighting and dying are left to the blacks and poor whites who make up our armed forces in this era of combat without conscription — left, that is, to those who have the least to fight and die for. Bush has openly sought support for the Iraq war by promising middle-class Americans that they won't have to sacrifice anything — not their children, not their gas-swilling vehicles, not their sense of superiority. “Enjoy!” he says. Rush Limbaugh tells his listeners — Bush voters — that they have no reason not to support the war, as long as it's not inconveniencing them in any way.

Real war demands sacrifice, and justice demands that the sacrifice be shared, not made exclusively by those at the bottom of American society. America, of all nations, needs an equal-opportunity army. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, a veteran himself, has the right idea. “They say rich people can't fight,” Rangel says. “But I say, give ‘em a chance.”

Preeminent

Of the current members of the Arkansas legislature, none is more shameless in advocating for private interests, or in opposing the public good, than Sen. Bob Johnson. If the common people want a senator, he seems to feel, they can go out and buy their own. Fair's fair.

It wasn't long ago that Johnson, a Democrat from Bigelow, was fighting for real-estate development on the banks of Lake Maumelle, development that could have polluted the drinking water of all Central Arkansas. Public outrage thwarted that particular plan, but developers still lust for the lake. Now Johnson opposes an increase in the state severance tax on natural gas, though Arkansas's tax is the lowest in the nation, out-of-staters would pay most of any increase, an increase in the severance tax would make Arkansas's regressive tax system somewhat fairer, and additional revenue is badly needed to improve the state's infrastructure.

“Let the free market work,” Johnson said. If only he were as concerned about letting democracy work. It's democracy, not the “free market” (whatever that is) that American government is built on.

Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

  • New episode of Rock the Culture: "Juice In Your Own Life"

    In this week’s episode, Charles and Antwan provide perspective and conversation on the Little Rock Mayoral Election and State Board of Education’s consideration of the anticipated request to waive the Fair Teacher Dismissal Act. In addition, Charles and Antwan discuss all things happening in the Little Rock School District with Superintendent Michael Poore.
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • End of the week headlines and your open line

    Alderman candidate misses chance to cast deciding vote for himself in runoff election; Dem-Gaz to phase out print delivery in El Dorado, Camden and Magnolia; Rapert threatens UA Fort Smith over 'Drag Queen Story Time' event; The Van seeks to raise $35,000 in three weeks for new warehouse facility in South Little Rock.
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • New episode of Out in Arkansas: "Boy Erased"

    Out in Arkansas’s hosts Traci Berry and Angie Bowen talk about all the things because all the things are LGBTQ things. This week T & A talk about “Boy Erased” and their own emotions during and after the movie. Thank you for listening! #outinarkansas #beinggayinthesouth #dontbeadouche #beadecentperson
    • Dec 7, 2018
  • More »

Latest in Editorials

  • The end of an era

    We're sad to report that Doug Smith has decided to retire. Though he's been listed as an associate editor on our masthead for the last 22 years, he has in fact been the conscience of the Arkansas Times. He has written all but a handful of our unsigned editorials since we introduced an opinion page in 1992.
    • May 8, 2014
  • A stand for equality

    Last week, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel became the first elected statewide official to express support for same-sex marriage. His announcement came days before Circuit Judge Chris Piazza is expected to rule on a challenge to the state's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Soon after, a federal challenge of the law is expected to move forward. McDaniel has pledged to "zealously" defend the Arkansas Constitution but said he wanted the public to know where he stood.
    • May 8, 2014
  • Same old, same old

    Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
    • May 1, 2014
  • More »

Most Viewed

  • No leash

    Living as I do in the remote provinces, I often find myself fascinated by the cultural advances of America's great metropolises. Last week, for example, The New York Times featured an entertaining column urging people to walk cats on leashes. If I tried that, I'd definitely have a fight on my hands.
  • Beware of 'unity'

    Beware the sweet lull of that siren song calling for "unity" and for us to "come together." It's the latest incarnation of the call for "civility," and just as dangerous.
  • Hope and change LR

    While I was away, Frank Scott Jr. won a historic victory in a runoff with Baker Kurrus to succeed Mark Stodola as Little Rock mayor.
  • Sex and Trump

    No one, least of all Donald Trump, should be surprised when sex puts him in mortal jeopardy, which seemed to be the case last week when his personal lawyer pleaded guilty to violating the law by arranging $280,000 in hush payments to a porn actress and a Playboy model who were prepared to tell voters about having sex with him.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Herd shifts

    • Uh-oh, the Investigator's playing off the bottom of the deck. That quote is from a…

    • on December 13, 2018
  • Re: No leash

    • Love this. So funny- so very hard to do.

    • on December 13, 2018
  • Re: No leash

    • The local Humane Society surprised me this week when it marched in the Arkadelphia Christmas…

    • on December 13, 2018
 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation