OPINION: George Harrison and Gov. Lamont

OPINION: George Harrison and Gov. Lamont



Through exhaustive archival research (well, more like a lazy scan of the old memory banks while eating Cheetos and watching TV, plus some simple arithmetic), I have uncovered the astounding fact that the late George Harrison is serving, from beyond the grave, as an unpaid adviser to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont.

That’s right. Many of us will remember, from long ago, Mr. Harrison’s musical musings about taxes:

Let me tell you how it will be / There's one for you, nineteen for me / 'Cause I'm the taxman / Yeah, I'm the taxman

You see, with the Beatles starting to make some serious money by the mid-1960s, they were facing exactly that: a tax rate of 95 percent on their personal income.

(Here’s the math: There were 20 shillings to the non-decimal British pound in those days, and if the government was taking 19 of them, that was a 95 percent tax rate.)

And at the time, in Britain, the rate could go that high or even higher. Thus:

Should five percent appear too small / Be thankful I don't take it all / 'Cause I'm the taxman / Yeah, I'm the taxman

Anyway, even more gob-smacking than that confiscatory tax rate in the U.K. under Prime Minister Harold Wilson (as in “Ha-Ha, Mr. Wilson!”) is the fact that Mr. Harrison, who wrote the song with a little help from his friends, seems to have anticipated the fiscal bind the state of Connecticut would find itself in, all these years later and an ocean away. And he suggested a solution:

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street / If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat / If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat / If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet / (Taxman!)

“I’ll tax the street” — music to Mr. Lamont’s ears! The song is clearly about highway tolls!

But do we want tolls? Well, no. Most of us don’t. And yet, there’s a yawning budget gap that needs to be closed. What’s a governor to do?

Well, short of a seat tax, a heat tax or a feet tax, and with tolls still up in the air, he could slap a tax on tea, although that didn’t work out so well the last time it was tried.

I seem to recall that there was a famous party in Boston, and 92,000 pounds of the stuff wound up in the harbor.

Other historic examples of tax resistance led to events like the German Peasants′ War of 1524-25; the overthrow of Edmund Andros, the colonial governor of New England, in 1689; the Whiskey Rebellion; and the Tancament de Caixes in Spain, whatever that was.

Also, Lady Godiva’s legendary ride through Coventry, England, to protest her husband Leofric’s onerous taxes.

(By the way, the nearby village of Meriden, then called Alspath, is listed in the Domesday Book as being the property of Godiva. Now isn’t that interesting?)

Anyway, suffice it to say that throughout history, people generally don’t like taxes. Which leaves only this to be sung:

Now my advice for those who die / (Taxman!) / Declare the pennies on your eyes / (Taxman!)

‘Cause I'm the taxman / Yeah, I'm the taxman / And you're working for no one but me

Reach Glenn Richter at grichter@record-journal.com.


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