The Politics of Tax Policy

Calmes: All tricks, no treats for midterm election workers

A man enters the Hennion building lobby before the first day of class at the City College of San Francisco.

Hennion: I don’t see the point.

The professor, a professor of public policy, has no idea about the power wielded by a man from Hennion.

“I’m not the president, but I do have the powers and I will use them to help you,” says this man from Hennion, a man whose power and identity are intertwined.

The professor is the only one in this room who knows this, and he takes the point. Still, I’m here.

As we spend an afternoon discussing tax policy and what the best course of action would be if there were a major tax cut like last January’s, I see the two men from Hennion and the professor from City College of San Francisco talking over each other in a way that’s like a game of chess.

For this man from Hennion, the game looks like what his old friend, the president from the Bay Area, would do. For the professor, this game looks like what a student would do in a classroom on midterm week.

“We have to have something that will really change things,” he says, pointing to a black board he has in front of him with five columns, each column filled with a different solution. Column two has seven options, column three has 29, etc.

“I’m not going to use any of those,” says the professor. “I’ll use the columns to get my point across to students.”

“So that’s not really a solution?” I ask.

“Well, yeah, you’re right. It’s a good point. I don’t know about a solution. I have no idea what a solution is.”

This conversation, along with the debate over what “solution” the president would recommend, is one of the two most common arguments at the University of California-Berkeley regarding what is going on in the state of California. In both cases, the arguments could be repeated by people of many political persuasions that end up getting the same argument across.

They don’t end up getting the same argument across because they don’t have a solution. The reason these arguments usually get a pass is the fact that they’re easy to understand and

Leave a Comment