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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


by folkbum

On the Minneapolis to Milwaukee leg of the flight home Monday, we sat in front of an older Wisconsin couple whose third seatmate was flying into Wisconsin from California. Waiting for pushback from the terminal, as I busied myself with the in-flight crossword puzzle, I could overhear the conversation between the Wisconsin man and the California woman. It didn't take long to get to gas prices and taxes, and the man launched into full GOP Talking Points mode.

"Oh, Wisconsin's taxes are horrible, we got the fifth highest taxes in the nation," he said. This seemed to surprise the woman. He started on a litany of this and that and the other that gets tacked onto your Wisconsin tax bill. He claimed that 75 cents per gallon was the state gas tax (it's closer to 30 cents; California's gas tax is actually the highest in the nation). And so on.

I bit my tongue and just let the guy harangue himself out.

A few moments later, the woman asked about snow, and whether it was hard to get around in the winter with so much snow on the ground. Without even a single ounce of irony, the anti-tax, anti-government Wisconsin man said, "Oh, no, it's great. Every county has plows and they get the roads clear right away. Even a little bit of snow," he said, "and they're out there salting and keeping the roads plowed and passable. They do a great job."

I nearly fainted.

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