Strange bedfellows, no doubt

by Russell Contreras

In my culture, we have old songs a person might sing to his/her significant other as the process of wooing begins. Songs like "Volver Volver," "Viva El Amor" and "Somos Novios" were, and still are, popular ballads we sing to each other hoping to make a good impression.

Usually, this was done between and man and a woman. But in secret domains of many villages, in the hidden depths of a plethora of towns and cities, this practice was done between those of the same sex. Both processes are still as romantic as they have always been, yet the latter is virtually unknown since society ignores it.

How does this tie in with this week's topic? Simple.

Our very own Dick -- Congressman Dick Armey of Irving, Texas -- and multi-quisillionaire and presidential candidate Steve Forbes are trying to woo American voters and the rich with their crazy and selfish notion of a flat tax -- a flat tax of 17 percent for everyone, to be exact.

These two dudes, with a bunch of other Branch Davidian conservatives, have started a national debate on the issue of scraping the old tax code (which they claim is unfair to the rich) and replacing it with this new percentage. That way, all of us -- no matter how much money we earn, no matter how poor or rich we are, no matter how many kids we have, no matter how many clothes we give to Goodwill -- would pay the same rate.

This ballad is gaining popularity with ever-so-naive American voters who now are actually considering going to bed with these guys over this seemingly romantic tune. The tune has become so romantic that Steve Forbes' political blitz in Iowa boosted him up to second place in the states where the nation's first primary elections will be held.

But like most of us Mexican-Americans who get the words wrong in old Spanish tunes, these voters are not getting the whole picture of this flat tax song.

To start out with, a 17 percent flat tax rate would mean a big increase in taxes for the middle class ... after the rich get a big decrease. Then the flat tax rate will cause the already soaring national debt to climb higher and put us in worse shape than we were in the 1980s.

The flat tax rate would also eliminate popular deductions like the interest mortgage deduction.

The sad truth is that this proposal is not coming from "the will of the people" but is coming from a group of millionaires who are manipulating libertarian ideas to cut a few more bucks for themselves. They know they would not get much support for a "Millionaire March to the Washington Monument."

For such an idea to become so popular among a small group of men, one could not help but think they were all sleeping together.

Contreras is a senior history and English major.

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