A seminal moment in the history of the Clinton Administration occurred on
My immediate response to this article was pure horror. I come from a long line of unbelievably mean people. (I’m of Irish descent and spent the first 26 years of my life in that hothouse of unalloyed truculence,
But then a friend from
The meanness tax will further impact the profits of such disrespectful TV shows as “Married…With Children,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Simpsons,” and “In Living Color,” while radio stations carrying known hatemongers such as Howard Stern immediately will be hit with a $35-per-listener surtax. Funds also will be gathered at the local level, as policemen will be told to write $50 “Public Churlishness” tickets and slap them on the windshields of any cars carrying a bumper sticker reading “Nuke the Whales” or “Screw the Snail Darter.” Police also will be instructed to write $35 tickets to anyone who disturbs the peace by saying things such as, “This country is starting to resemble
How much money will be raised by such an ambitious program? The Census Bureau estimates that 10 percent of the U.S. population is flat-out nasty, another 12 percent is pretty damn mean, and an additional 40 percent says something like “The hell with the endangered manatee!” or “No new taxes!” at least once a week. By the most conservative estimate, in the first year the program is in place, the Clinton Administration will raise $215 billion in anti-meanness taxes. So if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Hillary is watching. Hillary is listening.
Joe Queenan is a regular contributor on business issues, corporate culture, and financial follies to Barron’s and The Wall Street Journal.