Schwarzenegger's Golf Tax Is Liberal Irrationality

Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009 02:26 PM

By Lowell Ponte

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Those who wondered whether California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is really a Republican now have their answer.

Schwarzenegger proposed far-ranging new taxes and fees this week to help close a $42 billion state budget deficit — and among these levies is a tax on every round of golf played in the once-golden state.

Raising taxes should be anathema to any real Republican — but to propose a tax targeted on golf, the game of Republican President Dwight David Eisenhower, the game that virtually is the “g” in GOP, is unthinkable!

Schwarzenegger's proposal also reflects a very un-Republican irrationality, a short-sighted lack of logic characteristic of liberals, not conservatives.

I shall explain this for the dimwitted Democrats who have stumbled across today's column.

Who is Arnold Schwarzenegger, apart from being a movie star born and raised in socialist welfare state Austria who married into the Kennedy clan?

Schwarzenegger, 61, is an award-winning body builder, a star athlete who chaired the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports from 1990 to 1993. In this position during President George H.W Bush's administration, Schwarzenegger worked hard to encourage young and old alike to get off their sofas, exercise more, build hard bodies, and become more physically fit.

Millions of Americans have a favorite exercise, a way to strive for fitness, and that is to play golf. But now, Schwarzenegger proposes taxing every round of golf — in effect, imposing a tax on exercise.

For many with limited incomes, such a tax would force them to play fewer rounds – or quit golf altogether and become couch potatoes.

For some young aspiring Tiger Woods, this would be a tax not only on recreation and physical fitness, but also on dreams.

And for many, golf is a stress-reducing meditation that enhances mental focus, serenity, and relationships with friends and business associates.

Once upon a time, California conferred tax-exempt status on a golf course owned by the Japan-based Church of Perfect Liberty, one of whose religious tenants is that golf is how people can achieve union with the divine.

But now California's governor proposes taxing this form of worship every time it is practiced. Why not just require citizens to pay government every time they pray?

It's of course true that, for some duffers, golf is merely flog spelled backwards, a game of frustration.

And as a game played by doctors, lawyers, and businessfolk, golf is seen by millions who do not play it as an elite game of the rich, a game for the leisure class who can pay $500 for a single club. By taxing it, Schwarzenegger would put himself on the side of liberal class warfare and proletarian envy.

But let's focus on fundamentals: When you tax something, you get less of it. When you tax exercise, people will exercise less.

Those who exercise less will have more health problems. And those with more health problems will become more of a burden on our medical system and on government services such as Medicare and Medicaid.

The proposed tax on golf is, therefore, the epitome of penny-wise, pound-foolish government policy. This government grab for a few more tax dollars now will cost the government billions of healthcare dollars in future. And given his experience encouraging people to exercise more, Schwarzenegger knows this better than most.

The deeper one looks into liberalism, the more one sees of this kind of brain-dead irrationality.

This week, for example, environmentalists were cheering because home heating oil suppliers from Maine to Maryland agreed to reduce sulfur levels in their product.

Oddly, these are the same environmentalists who warn that global warming is about to plunge our planet into famine and war. They apparently do not understand atmospheric sulfur's role in keeping our planet cooler — and hence do not know that cutting sulfur pollution will increase global warming.

In Earth's atmosphere, the sulfur dioxide produced by burning sulfur-bearing fossil fuels tends to condense very tiny droplets of water on the tops of clouds. These droplets are smaller than those that would form without sulfur in the air.

This causes what weather scientists call increased “albedo,” meaning that these tinier droplets make clouds more mirror-like and reflect more incoming sunlight into space before it reaches and heats the Earth's surface.

Sulfur in our skies, in other words, turns Earth's clouds into more effective umbrellas. By thus reducing incoming sunshine, sulfur helps shade and cool our world.

If global warming were real, then one of the best ways to save our world could be sulfur.

Indeed, Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen, a Dutch atmospheric scientist, believes we might be able to prevent a global warming catastrophe by injecting sulfur into Earth's stratosphere.

The resulting high-altitude haze would be invisible to our eyes, but it could reduce incoming sunlight enough to reverse any global warming from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — warming that politicized scientist Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration wrongly called “irreversible” this week.

Crutzen is not happy about geoneering, deliberately tampering with Earth's atmosphere, but he believes it could cure the fever of global warming.

Earth has survived many such injections of stratospheric sulfur. This is one of the reasons why global climate cools, sometimes by several degrees, for a year or two after a major volcanic eruption sends hot sulfurous gases and dust 50 miles or more high into the stratosphere.

And, as Crutzen knows, sulfur dust sent into the stratosphere by human balloons, rockets, or aircraft likewise would sift itself out of the skies within two years. Its cooling effect would be powerful but short-lived.

This means we could use sulfur like a thermostat, cooling Earth as needed by how much we inject into the stratosphere.

But ignorant liberals are either too sheep-like, or too eager to use global warming to frighten people into accepting socialist dictatorship, to open their minds.

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