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Today is Tax Day

April 16, 2007

Today is the day we all ask ourselves whether what we get in return for our tax dollars is worth it. For many, today is the day that political decisions are made, far more so than that other day, Election Day. There are four Tax Days for every general Election Day.

Today, many people are thinking about the war in Iraq. Others are thinking about the environment and global warming. Some are thinking about life, choice, prayer and Don Imus. All good things to think about.

I’m thinking about this: Imagine that there were gleaming super freighters pulling up to all of our docks full of knock off auto parts. The boats are lined up 100 deep in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Houston, Seattle. So many boats that legitimate cargo was having a hard time getting through and had to pay premium port fees to do business at the ports subsidized by the federal government.

Pirate auto parts were choking legitimate distribution channels, and some pirates got paid so much to take the parts on their journey that they just dumped their cargos once they arrived to the Land of the Free and the Home of the Not So Brave. For no one did anything about it. The Customs Service was nowhere to be found. The FBI was busy. The US Attorneys who hadn’t been fired did nothing.

For the Department of Justice, FBI, etc., have more important things to worry about, don’t you know. I mean, who is really getting hurt by any of this? It’s just stupid car parts after all.
Google Motors jumped into the act, and set up an advertising supported peer-to-peer barter system for pirates who were searching for willing buyers—Screw 2.0 web hosting, don’t you know. Send them a notice and they’ll kill a link or two.

Ford Motor Company called Washington and said, hey—what about this? These guys are killing us!Washington said—that’s a private industry problem. Let us know how that turns out.

So as legitimate car parts stores closed in droves, the carmakers decided that they had no choice but to sue their customers who had been corrupted by the glut of counterfeits. Because it’s hard to compete with free (or near free). And the Automotive Frontier Foundation (funded by Google Motors) jumped to the rescue of these poor souls who were on the other side of the Automotive Divide and started a class warfare campaign against the carmakers who had the temerity to enforce their rights.

But I’m comforted to know that’s just a Kafka-esque bad dream and our government would never do such a thing to a legitimate industry that accounts for such a significant portion of America’s balance of trade. Not to mention culture.

That’s what I think about on Tax Day.

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