… and the mind's true liberation:
Jeffrey Miron links to an NPR story
describing the definitional acrobatics of states
that have decided to stop exempting candy from sales tax. But what's
"candy"? Well, …
So put into practice, that means Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are taxable. Mike and Ike candies are taxable. Kit Kat is exempt.
That's because Kit Kats have flour in them, explains Patrick Gillespie of Washington state's Department of Revenue. And flour is the not-so-secret ingredient that determines whether something is candy or not — at least if you're the taxman. If it has flour, it's not candy.
A group of states working together to simplify and sync up their tax codes came up with the flour test. It took them two years. They insist that the flour lobby had no influence in the matter.
Which reminds me of this old Bill Cosby routine, where he's forced into making breakfast for his children, and winds up serving them leftover chocolate cake. Key quote:
And someone in my brain looked under "chocolate cake". And saw the ingredients: Eggs! Eggs are in chocolate cake! And milk! Oh goody! And wheat! That's nutrition!The bit is on YouTube, and if you have a spare nine minutes and twenty-five seconds:
At the Volokh Conspiracy, John Elwood uncovers
the old WW2 OSS "Simple Sabotage Field Manual" used by
folks looking to disrupt the Nazi war machine. One of the
eye-opening sections describes how to monkey-wrench your local organization:
- Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit
short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
- Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length.
Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal
experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic"
- When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study
and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as
possible—never less than five.
- Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.
- Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes,
- Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt
to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.
- Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees
to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments
or difficulties later on.
- Be worried about the propriety of any decision—raise the
question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the
jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy
of some higher echelon.
- Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.
"I'll take 'Game Show Champs' Daughters' for $1000, Alex."
"Answer: Ken Jennings' daughter misheard this famous song lyric as 'This is the doggie in the angel's aquarium'."
[Hints for your correct response: (a) the title of this post; and (b) here. Please be sure it is in the form of a question.]