I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The T@x Foundation is W@tching Me!

Funny story:

I'm reading NJ Spotlight, as I do so often because I think they do good work, and I see this short item about the T@x Foundation. It strikes me as very, very dumb, so I blog about it, 'cause, you know, that's how I roll.

I also put up my post as a comment - the only comment as of right now - on the NJ Spotlight page with a link back to here.

Barely an hour goes by, and I get two separate comments panning my post. Now, understand: I'm not exactly the Huffington Post here. According to my AdSense meter, I get a little more than a thousand hits a month, and I'll bet most of those are either me going back to fix stupid mistakes ("Principle, not principal, you dolt...") or me begging my wife to read something I wrote ("Come on, honey, you can watch Hot In Cleveland on the DVR later...").

So getting two comments was pretty surprising, let alone two negative comments. What's up with that?

At first I thought these guys had tracked me back from the NJ Spotlight site, but they didn't leave a comment there, so that didn't make sense. And then I read the comments they left here. They are both obviously from people who work at the T@x Foundation itself.

The second commenter signed his name "Joseph Henchman, T@x Foundation." Quite a resume:

Joe Henchman is an attorney and policy analyst who supervises the Tax Foundation's state policy and legal programs. His analysis of state fiscal trends, constitutional issues, and tax law developments has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Baltimore Sun,the Orange County Register, CNN, ABC News, C-SPAN, FortuneGoverningBarron's, Kiplinger's, Stateline, State Tax Notes, and in court decisions and testimony at the federal and state levels.
Originally from San Diego County, California, he earned his bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, specializing in political transitions, and a law degree from George Washington University. In law school, he was active in the Federalist Society, Lambda Law, and the student government, and authored unconventional but praised papers titled "Talking Dogs and Due Process: Legal Rights for Nonhuman Sapients," "Good Lawyers Should Say Yes: A Case Study of Larry Flynt, Borat, and Mob Lawyers," and "Why the Quill Physical Presence Rule Shouldn't Go the Way of Personal Jurisdiction." In 2007, he earned a certificate in International Legal Studies from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's summer program at the University of Pacific-McGeorge School of Law.
Before joining the Tax Foundation in 2005, he previously worked in the historic 2003 California recall election as press/policy aide to gubernatorial candidate and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, and interned with the Office of the DC Attorney General, Citizens Against Government Waste, and University of California outreach in the Central Valley. In 2004, he was a Koch Summer Fellow and in 2008, he completed the year-long Koch Associate market-based management program.
He is admitted to practice law in the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. [No, I'm not going to replace all the "a"s with "@"s in the quote, as this is a very stupid joke on my part anyway]
Love that Federalist Society; no better way to get on the wingnut-welfare gravy train if you're carrying a law degree. Did wonders for Ann Coulter.

Anyway, you can read my responses in the comments. I'm just a dopey music teacher and I've never earned a sponsorship from Charlie "Patron-Saint-Of-The-Right" Koch, so I guess there is some sophisticated reason I can't grasp as to why you would rank states by their sales taxes without taking into account tax exemptions. Or why it would make sense to put that information in a different report you don't reference at all in your rankings report.

What I find so funny, however, is that they would even bother with my little lemonade stand, let alone attend to it with such alacrity. The first commenter must have searched my older posts for "T@x Foundation," as he had nothing to say about this post but plenty to say about something I wrote more than four months ago.

It's actually pretty easy to set up a Google news reader to return blog posts about a particular search term, and it appears that when you use Blogger, as I do, your posts usually get included. Are these guys running searches on anyone who uses the term "T@x Foundation" in their blogs, and then running over and posting in their comments? On a Saturday? The T@x Foundation can afford this? Exactly how big is their budget over there? Who knows, maybe they love their jobs so much, they don't mind the extra work.

When the T@x Foundation first released its report that NJ had the highest taxes in America - and when Christie started parroting the claim - multiple times - some of us expressed skepticism. One response from the right was, "Well, why would the non-partisan T@x Foundation lie?"

Golly, that makes perfect sense. I mean, look at Joe's resume above - it just screams "non-partisan," what with its Federalist Society and Citizens Against Government Waste ties. It's not like the rest of the staff doesn't have ties to Koch and Heritage and the rest of the wingnut-welfare gravy train.

And it's not like Chris Christie is being touted as a rising political start by the right, and couldn't use a blunt instrument that sells the idea of NJ as over-taxed so he can beat down the unions.

Where would anyone get that crazy idea?

ADDING: You know, it just occurred to me you could set up a Google news reader feed to find instances of your own name! Let's see who shows up in the comments...

No comments: