Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington, known as “Twit” to his chums at The Club, was sitting with his son and grandson on the back veranda of their little summer cottage, sipping sherry by the seashore. “I feel sorry for poor Mitt Romney, Two,” he said with a grin on his face.
Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington II was the “Two” to which Twit I referred. (Twit I once said to his chums at The Club, “Let the Bubbas and Billy Bobs call their eldest sons ‘Junior’; our sons are ‘The Second’. Their sons are lesser versions of lesser men; ours are the next generation of brilliance and a tribute to our glory.”) Twit II looked over the top of his snifter at his sire. (Twit II once said to his chums at The Bank, “Bubba and Billy Bob have mere ‘fathers’; in our families, we know that titles of royalty are the only ones that could possibly fit.”) “Oh?” he said, after noting the aforementioned grin.
Twit I’s grin only grew larger. “I happened to bump into Harry Reid the other day . . .” he started, then paused for another sip of sherry.
Twit II’s eyes bugged out. “You didn’t!” he cried.
Twit I laughed. “What?”
Twit II: “You told Harry about Mitt Romney’s taxes?”
Twit I: “Moi?”
Twit II: “Yes, vous. How could you? It’s so . . . pedestrian. How could someone of your station drag Mr. Romney’s good name through the mud? It just isn’t done, if you ask me.”
Twit I: “Well, Two, I didn’t ask you (pause to sip sherry), and clearly I was right not to do so if you don’t understand why it was not only permissible but downright required of me.”
Twit II opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He closed it and tried again. Still nothing. Twit I laughed again, sipped his sherry, then smiled. “Two, how does one measure one’s power in the world?” Twit II sat silently, knowing that a lecture was beginning and his role was to soak up the lesson without interruption, but Twit I wouldn’t let him sit by like that. “I’ll give you a hint: the answer is one word.”
Twit II smiled, then said “Wealth.” Twit I laughed, and shook his head. “Property?” he said, less sure of himself. Again, Twit I shook his head no. “Servants?” Once more, Twit I smiled, sipped his sherry, and shook his head no. “I give up,” said Twit II finally.
“Taxes,” said Twit I.
“Taxes? But we hate taxes!” cried Twit II.
“On the contrary,” said Twit I to his errant son. “We love taxes — we love it when other people pay them, and we love it even more when we can tap into them for our own benefit once they’ve been collected. Yes, my son, we love taxes.”
Twit II began to smile, and waved at the newspaper sitting by his chair. “It’s like all those companies in Kansas City, where they jump from one side of the state line to another, getting tax breaks and incentives to ‘create jobs in our community’ for doing no such thing. What did that reporter fellow say? Oh, yes:
Freightquote is moving its headquarters and 1,225 jobs from Lenexa [KS] to Kansas City, a 12-mile border hop boosted by a city and state tax incentive package valued at $64.3 million over 23 years. . .
The move will be the most expensive example to date of the metro border war that has benefited company bottom lines while adding little or nothing to the net local economy.
While the head of the Lenexa Chamber of Commerce shrugged his shoulders over the loss, Missouri and Kansas City leaders celebrated. Still, they were aware that the move wouldn’t do much for the metro economy.
“Everybody should understand that at the end of the day this is a transfer and not a creation of jobs,” [KC Mayor Sly] James said Friday. . .
“We appreciate the efforts put forth by the state and city in creating an incentive package for our company to make a significant investment in the city and state,” Tim Barton, CEO of Freightquote, said in a statement.
Twit I smiled. “I’ll be he appreciates the efforts. His company rakes in millions, and the only thing that changes is the address on the company letterhead. The CEO doesn’t even have to move or buy a new home — unless of course he wants to, and with the bonus the board will give him for crafting this new deal, he’ll certainly have the money to do it. And it’s all because of taxes. Other people’s taxes, that is.”
“Taxes,” said Twit II thoughtfully. Then he shook his head, “But why would you tell Harry about Mr. Romney’s taxes? Isn’t that a betrayal of, well, one of our own?”
Twit I threw his sherry snifter across the lawn. “Ha!” he cried. “You haven’t been at The Club for the last ten or fifteen or twenty years, listening to Mitt go on and on and on about how he’s avoided these taxes with clever legal use of foreign banks, and how he’s covered those taxes with convenient ‘losses’ from somewhere else. Every year, on tax day, Mitt comes in with a smile on his face and says the same thing: ‘No taxes for me this year. Again!’ Every year, he rubbed our noses in it, and we had to smile and take it. After listening to Mitt out on the campaign trail talking about the taxes he’s paid, we talked it over at The Club and decided enough was Enough. Mitt sharpened and sharpened and sharpened that knife himself. All we did was pick it up and . . . return it to him.”
Meanwhile, a servant had retrieved the errant snifter, and brought a clean one to replace it, along with more sherry and a little sweet to nibble on. Twit I accepted the new beverage without a word, raised it toward Twit II, and said “Who’s smiling now, Mitt?”
Twit II began to smile as well. “Hmmmm . . . You know, two weeks ago I was reading the Boston Globe, and they had a story in which Mr. Romney’s former servants at Bain said some less-than-charitable things about Romney’s business skills. You didn’t have anything to do with that coming out, did you?”
Twit I smiled and silently sipped his sherry.
Twit II raised his sherry snifter to salute Twit I. “I’m impressed,” he said, taking a sip.
Twit I raised his snifter once more, and looked at his son and grandson until they raised their glasses. “To taxes!” he cried.
“To Taxes!” they responded, and the three Twits drank as one.
And Theodore Worthington Ichabod Tumblington III sat, watched, and smiled. He knew better than to join in the conversation of his elders, but that was fine with him. As he and the other IIIs at The Academy knew, one day all this would be theirs.
And on that day, he — Twit III — would truly rule the world, with all of it paid for by Other People’s Taxes.
photo h/t to Linda N.