Coffee shop talk more questions than answers

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, April 3, 2024

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

Drinking coffee poured right out of the pot often is too hot to swallow. Conversation while allowing the coffee to cool allows a person to ponder the maneuverings of our betters in Jackson. Coffee and conversation is one way to ease the (mis)understanding of nonsensical goings on in government. 

The coffee drinkers at several locations I frequent claim to have figured out why Delbert the Democrat (an unofficial title earned this last election) does not like eliminating the state income tax. 

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The sages postulated that Delbert the Democrat thought he would need that income producer once the Medicaid expansion percentage of responsibility fell back on the state. 

“You see,” Coffee Black drinker said, “it is easier to raise the rates on an income tax that is in place than have to fight to reestablish an income tax.” 

Coffee Two Creams chimed in: “Why not tax the middle and lower income constituents; they are the ones using the Medicaid.” I could see his point. 

Another topic of discussion was why do we elect our representatives yet leave the real powerhouses of the legislative process – the lobbyists – untouched by the hand of the voter? 

Would it not be simpler, some thought, to simply elect the lobbyists and cut out the middleman of representatives and senators? This sentiment met agreement by acclamation of the assembled. That way the voters could get a little money back or perhaps a steak dinner, but then, do we really know what is the legislative coin of the realm? I could see their point. 

After hearing politicians crow about how Lafayette County has nine or 10 representatives in the legislature rooting for and pushing legislation to help Lafayette County, the assembled struggled to come up with an example. 

One coffee drinker stated that if a district has a representative and 22 percent of his votes come from Lafayette County with the other 78 percent from their home county, or slivers of other counties, why would they be concerned with say, the four-laning of Highway 7 South? 

The boys could see the problem, but could not figure the money flow. I could see their point. 

One old sage – Coffee Black One Artificial Sweetener – reported to the assembled in his opinion, our betters in the legislature were not going to allow the public to have a say-so in government by allowing a ballot initiative. 

“The lawyer elite won’t allow a ballot initiative,” the old sage said, “without a backstop procedure to allow the legislature to thwart the will of the people.” 

Coffee Black interjected that “every four years a new legislature passes laws that would not have a chance of passing closer to election. That gives the electorate four years to get used to the new laws and to forget that the person they elected was the one that placed a fresh yoke around their neck. Despite a ballot initiative being in the state constitution as a requirement, the legislators feel no need to follow the document.” I could see their point. 

One regular coffee drinker expressed dismay, saying the legislators are ours only when out of session. The rest of the time, they belong to the lobbyists. 

“It’s not Jimmy Dean sausage they are making in Jackson,” he said. 

An old professor (cream and sugar in his coffee) spoke up with Ben Franklin’s words: “Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor liberty to purchase power.” I could see his point.