Casuistry? Maybe

Joseph Thompson

[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks on Taxation, published by the author]

... Say, Mr. Boss, I'm asking you for Five hundred dollars, and I'm asking you to sprinkle it through your expense account, some way.
Why not plainly state what it's for?
Oh! You couldn't! As your Exec. V P, I'm putting up my Five hundred, too.
Well, this is all mighty mysterious.
Mighty sub-rosary, too!
Greasing someone?
Oh! Mr. Boss! Imagine that!
Well, why else should it be so quiet?
Well, frankly, it's not greasing, it's a contribution.
A contribution that we can't list. Eh?
No. Not this one.
We've done business openly for a long time and I don't like this.
Any contribution that can't be listed, smells like a bribe to me. What's it for? And why are you for it?
Well, it's this way. A deputy assessor has been around here appraising our plant and inventory, and he just casually suggested that a little sum, say a thousand dollars, be contributed to the Assessor's campaign fund -
Campaign fund! Why, he's just been re-elected!
Yeah. His campaign fund. Maybe he believes in getting ready early for the next election, four years from now.
George, I'm surprised at you Why didn't you just flatly tell him "No soap!"
I wanted to, but another little item he just casually dropped, was that there was a little "discrepancy" in his figures, as though yon were to say LIFO or something a bit vague, involving some Thirty-five thousand dollars -
Don't make a damn bit of difference! A bribe is a bribe. And calling it a campaign fund contribution doesn't change it.
Well, you know me well enough to know that that's the way I think, too. But I got to figuring it out this way. You've always said that the land rental should be the sole government income, huh?
And that fining people for putting up buildings and providing inventories, was wrong?
So I figured that it's just as wrong for the Government to take our money from us by force, as it is for us to bribe an assessor, to prevent our being robbed, of course in the interest of our Stockholders.
You'd make a splendid Jesuit!
Well, I've got a good argument, haven't I?
Wel-ll, with the contempt I have for our stupid tax bumbling, any such casuistry sounds good.
Then you'll put up the Five hundred?
Yep. But I won't sprinkle it through my expense account.
Because I think I ought to fine myself for bribing an official.
You're not bribing an official. You're just contributing to the campaign fund of the kind of Assessor we deserve as long as we maintain a tax system that is an invitation to felony!