Addressing heartland events from the heartland.
Iowa Event #1
It was a typical summer day in Davenport, Iowa. It’s a little town of about 100,000 Midwestern folks resting on the eastern border of the state. There is a fair amount to do in this town and in its neighboring communities of Bettendorf, IA; Moline and Rock Island, IL. There is plenty to do most of the time and there certainly was earlier this week. For example, you could go see President Bush at a campaign rally. Or you go a few blocks away and see Sen. Kerry at a campaign rally. Or you could take advantage of the fact that all the police were focused on the two presidential campaign stops and rob a bank. Or three.
In a town that is used to the hub-bub of a campaign, the Hawkeye Caucii in January every four years, you would think this police protection would be something they could handle. But with almost every officer re-directing traffic and the community holding the bag for the costs, the citizens were left unprotected. Now, I am not down on the police force in general because most cops are professionals at their job. But what were the organizers thinking? During the campaign events at the same day, same time, same city; three banks get robbed.
I can hear the candidates now. Kerry: “When I’m elected President, there will be more cops on the streets of Davenport to protect its citizens.” Bush: “I told you the Clinton deal with 100,000 more cops for America was a sham. If Americans paid for this extra protection under my predecessor, where were they when the banks were being robbed?” Both of course, missed the point.
Maybe if there is a need to finance more officers on the streets, we could talk to someone with the money. Now, where are the bank robbers? Or should we talk to the campaigns themselves?
Iowa Event #2
Tax Free Weekend for shopping is here. In preparation of school time, the state declares a tax free holiday. This weekend, there will be no collection of sales tax for clothing items under $100. That is good news for families trying to outfit junior for the school year. I thought it was a little silly, save all my shopping for one weekend just to save 7%. But then I saw that stores were trying to get business so they would mark down items to save 10-50% in addition to the sales tax savings. The big savings seem to come on items that were above $100 originally and now marked down to $99.99 or less so the sales tax savings would apply to that purchase as well.
Recently, I have begun to think that maybe the “sales tax holiday” is a pretty good deal. If stores were going to compete for the business this weekend and malls were packed, why not just eliminate the tax all together? True, it might not seem a bargain in some people’s mind, but the idea behind it would be great. Elimination of the sales tax, especially on necessities in life such as clothes, food, etc. Uh oh, I feel a libertarian moment coming on. If eliminating taxes, even for a weekend, encourages folks to spend money, what would happen if we eliminated sales taxes altogether. I wonder if anyone in Des Moines or better yet Washington, DC will be watching and acting on the concept.
We can only hope.