"If Only the Czar Knew"

In Russia many years ago, the peasants lamented their lot in life with the phrase, "If only the Czar knew." They believed that if the leader only knew how bad things were, something would change. At least one wag suggested that it was the discovery that the Czar did know but didn't care that led to the Russian Revolution.

When President Obama was in Ghana recently, he decried the toll of corruption. "No business wants to invest in a place where the government skims 20 percent off the top," he said. The United States corporate tax rate (generally regarded as the highest in the world) is 35%. So the question is, does the Czar know and not care, or is he truly as clueless about the way the real world works as his lack of experience and words so often suggest?


At 10:19 AM, Blogger Matthew Saroff said...

You know, you have to be deliberately obtuse to equate taxes with bribery.

Taxes go toward infrastructure and services that make society work, bribery is simply theft.

I would take issue with Obama's statement too, first because it's not the government, but corrupt bureaucrats and politicians who are skimming, and also because the skim rate is likely much higher than 20%, it's likely closer to 70 or 80%, because the level of corruption is so high that services are not delivered.

The reason, for example, that Huey Long is a saint in Louisiana is because he got corruption down to a low enough level that services started trickling out.

BTW, I came across your blog because I googled "If only the Czar knew," and used it in this post.

At 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's how i got here too


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