Illinois and California have a lot of things in common. Many are not good, although we are told we must believe they are necessary and good for us. Both states tax too much so they can spend too much. They confuse the need to collect money with the values they try to force on their residents. This is how Cook County got a soda pop tax that caused a lot of embarrassment this week. The tax was supposed to be about values. From the start we knew it was about something else.
On the other side of the country our outrageously overpaid film industry also took a hit this week. Hollywood likes to preach values it apparently doesn’t live up to. It’s a lot of fun to bash the president on everything from late night TV to the Oscar stage, but when the lights came on last weekend we all got a good glimpse of what has value in Tinseltown. Like Cook County’s soda pop tax, it’s all about money.
Wow. What a terrible week for Democratic hubris.
Soda pop tax: Democratic hubris exemplified
Cook County residents sent the message loud and clear: don’t mess with our soda. Democrats surrendered after months of growing anger from pop drinkers and a media campaign no one believed that tried to frame the soda pop tax as an emergency measure to save our children.
That doesn’t happen very often in Illinois. Democratic hubris means the party usually gets its way and steamrolls over taxpayers when they object. We usually have to pay what the party says we have to pay no matter how much it hurts. In government that’s the definition of hubris: extreme arrogance and confidence beyond the bounds of reason.
This time Democratic hubris took a beating. An unfair, regressive tax went away. The sad thing about it is that it took a tax on soda for the voters to finally stand up and make their voices heard. Pensions, corruption, lavish public employee salaries, overspending, and all the other things that have ruined Illinois will continue until we are either taxed into oblivion or ruined beyond salvation. The only victory taxpayers can boast for now is successfully refusing to pay too much for the big 40-ouncer at their local fast food joint.
The soda pop tax was repealed on Wednesday. On the other side of the country the hammer had already fallen.
Hollywood harassment: what happened to values?
Nancy Pelosi called it “shocking.”1
The president said “I’ve known Harvey Weinstein for a long time. I’m not all surprised to see it.”2
Democrats who took money from the man who, for this week at least, was one of the most unpopular personalities in America were quick to get out in front of an emerging scandal and announce they were getting rid of the cash as fast as they could.
A town that has made quite a reputation for itself over the last year for criticizing and even cleverly threatening Trump and telling us what values we should hold dear has brought a new image of the casting couch for the 21st century.
The 2016 Oscars brought racial inequality in Hollywood to the forefront and then quickly transitioned to an election season that bashed everything conservative and the GOP candidate, in particular.
The abuse never stopped but now the shoe is on the other foot. Let’s set aside the repercussions in the movie industry and whatever revelations are on their way. This is about Democratic hubris. Do celebrity politicians backed by Tinseltown bigwigs believe that the money bestowed on them and the words that go with it represent values? Did they fool themselves into thinking that liberals were above the sort of behavior we are hearing more and more about as celebrities step forward?
Honesty about women? Money talks louder.
Barack Obama talked about honesty at a 2016 Women’s Summit:
We’re going to have to be honest with ourselves. We’re going to have to change something else. We’re going to have to change the way we see ourselves. And this is happening already, but I want us to be more intentional about it. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but we’re still boxed in by stereotypes about how men and women should behave. 3
We are also boxed in by stereotypes about what the Democratic Party is, what politicians are, and what they do when they get the upper hand. That means values get confused with hubris. Sometimes it really does matter where the money comes from, whether it’s handed over by pop drinking Chicagoans or uber-successful studio executives.
1. “Pelosi Statement on Harvey Weinstein.” Nancy Pelosi. October 10, 2017. https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/101017-4/, retrieved October 12, 2017.
2. “Remarks by President Trump in Press Gaggle Before Marine One Departure.” The White House. October 7, 2017. https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/07/remarks-president-trump-press-gaggle-marine-one-departure, retrieved October 12, 2017.
3. “Remarks by the President at United States of Women Summit.” The White House. June 14, 2016. https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2016/06/14/remarks-president-united-states-women-summit, retrieved October 13, 2017.