Special Favors

Special Favors

My first assignment as a new 2nd Lieutenant in the Air Force was the Digital Communications Facility at Rome Air Development Center, New York. Part of my job was to design and build devices to test government systems and equipment. I was asked to go get the tools that I would need. When I arrived at supply, I was told that due to a shortage of funds, there were no tools and indeed, the bins were empty.

A month later, another 2nd Lieutenant arrived. During his first weekend in Rome, New York, he met the civilian in charge supply and they became friends. When this Lieutenant was asked to get the tools that he would need, he went to supply and was also told that due to a shortage of funds, that there were no tools. But then the civilian in charge of supply said that he would see what he could find. This civilian went out of his way to find and assemble a nice set of small tools which he checked out to his new friend.

Several months later another 2nd Lieutenant arrived. When he went to supply to get the tools that he needed, he was told that due to a shortage of funds, there were no tools. He and I both knew that the 2nd Lieutenant before him did receive a nice set of small tools. I wonder if he thought it was a case of discrimination since he was black. I did not ask. But I did learn one of life's lessons: When in a position of power and responsibility, special favors to anyone are a form of discrimination against everyone else.

Do I discriminate? Certainly. My wife receives favors no one else has ever received. I do have a special responsibility to my sons, my daughter, my parents, brother and sisters, and my in-laws. In my private life, I can and do help them more than others. But in my professional life, I try to help everyone who asks for help and to not give special favors to any particular person.

But some people in power give Special Favors. Even worse, they even expect a "kickback" for Special Favors given. Some people have even formed the opinion that for a fee, a Special Favor can be received. The problem is, Special Favors are unjust. They violate the very foundation of our government, and mock the Declaration of Independence that says that all men are created equal. It does not say, that for a fee, some men can be more equal then others.

What is even worse, is that these Special Favors are not limited to Citizens of the United States. Even foreign interests have bought Special Favors. For over 100 years the residents of Utah have known about, and have planned to use the great coal reserves of their state. The four corners power plant that supplies much of the energy to South-Western United States will need that coal in a few decades. But for a small donation from a foreign interest wanting to sell us coal, a large part of these reserves, the major future source of low-pollution hard coal, was locked away and made untouchable. This significantly increased the cost of electrical power in San Diego & Imperial Counties, Arizona, New Mexico, south end of Colorado and south end of Utah.

Most of our nation's debt is now due to the cost of Special Favors where some class of people, or some special interest business, receives favors at the expense of everyone else. Now I understand that some people are unable to take care of themselves and need some assistance from the rest of us. But why do a few major corporations receive large subsidies paid for by taxes on small companies trying to survive, and by taxes on its citizens? And why do we still subsidize the growing and selling of tobacco? And why to our tax laws still have over 1000 special tax exemptions for specific companies, and for friends and relatives of past congressmen? (These tax favors were used to buy votes in the 1986 "tax reform act".)

I suspect that much of the momentum for a restructuring of current tax laws, or even for a shift to national sales tax, is based on a desire to make taxation fair. i.e. NO SPECIAL EXEMPTIONS. Every time I hear "Targeted Tax Relief", I realize that someone else is getting another Special Favor, and I am not. I have talked to a lot of people, and so far I have only met one person who will qualify for Targeted Tax Relief.

What I'm hoping for, is a government that will stop giving away the company store, and thus be able to lower taxes for everyone. A government where you don't have to be a Special Interest, a friend of the President, a Senator, a Congressman, or anyone else, to get ahead. A government where tax laws DO NOT give special exemptions (tax breaks) to specific companies, groups or families.

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