William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME – AT 11:16 A.M. ET:  One of the first slogans we learn in American history is "No taxation without representation."  It was one of the founding slogans of the United States.

Alas, we later learn that, even with representation, taxation can be onerous, unfair, and destructive.  Depends on who does the taxing and who's represented.

Chicago, unlike New York and other better-run cities, has seen a substantial spike in violence, much of it committed by people pulling triggers.  (The guns do not fire themselves.)  Here is a typical Chicago response:

The county that includes Chicago on Friday approved a tax on firearms to help pay the healthcare costs from gun violence, the first major U.S. metropolitan area to impose such a tax as a form of gun control.

Under the plan, Cook County, Ill., will impose a $25 tax on each firearm sold. The tax is expected to raise $600,000 in revenue in 2013.

We're sure the criminals and gangbangers will dutifully pay their tax when they steal their guns or get them on the street.

With Friday's vote, the nation's second most populous county with nearly 5.2 million residents becomes the first major U.S. metropolitan area to impose a tax as a form of gun control, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The Cook County board of commissioners voted 9 to 7 to approve the firearms tax.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who proposed the handgun tax, had earlier this week abandoned an additional proposed tax of 5 cents a bullet because the tax in some cases would have exceeded the price of ammunition.

Preckwinkle said that 670 victims of gun violence had been treated by the county's health system last year. The average cost per patient was $52,000.

All this violence, of course, was caused by guns magically going off.  People had nothing to do with it.

There have been 443 murders in Chicago so far this year, surpassing last year's total of 435 and 22 percent more than in the same period a year ago, according to Chicago police.

And Mr. Hope 'n' Change in Washington hasn't had a word to say about it.

Taxes on buyers or sellers of guns or ammunition have been proposed but failed in six states, including California, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Tennessee has a hunting-related 10-cent tax on sealed packages of shotgun shells and cartridges that applies to sellers. The money is used to support wildlife resources.

Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, has called the Cook County proposal another scheme to punish law-abiding firearm owners and dealers. He said it would prompt people to purchase weapons elsewhere.

COMMENT:  I'm a gun owner, but have never opposed reasonable and Constitutional measures that are effective in reducing improper use of guns.  But the "leaders" of Cook County are going through their usual delusions and deceptions.

The problem in Chicago is culture.  It almost always is.  Some of the African-American "leaders" in Chicago often tell us that the gun manufacturers are to blame for the massive violence in the city.  Strange.  The same manufacturers supply guns to Vermont, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the country and one of the lowest rates of crime. 

New York largely solved its crime problem through superb police work, appointment of excellent police officials under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and going over the heads of local "leaders" who were far more interested in their own turf than in saving the lives of their people.  Naturally, Rudy was accused of racism, but he is responsible for the saving of more black lives in New York than any mayor in the city's history.

New York is the right example, at least on crime control (if nothing else).  Chicago is an embarrassment.

By the way, you may be sure that the new Cook County tax will be used as a model by the Obama administration, should it be re-elected on Tuesday. 

November 3, 2012