‘Oops! 100% Tax Rate’ (2017)

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A band of jolly senators, circa 1879

One of the fondest dreams of leftids the world over is a 100% tax rate–and maybe even higher.

For a brief moment in history, thanks to a pack of fumbling, bumbling senators, we almost had a 100% tax rate in America.

Oops! 100% Tax Rate

My wife is trying to do our taxes this week. It takes all day, day after day, going over hundreds of pages, until it’s finally done.

When things get this complicated, a fair amount of stupidity is bound to work its way in. And with that much complication, things don’t stay honest, either.

‘Song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett”‘ (2015)

Thanks to the shameless publicity practices of the 19th century, Davy Crockett became internationally famous for things he didn’t do. He was America’s first international celebrity, almost all of it based on what the great Icelandic historian, Snorri Sturlusson, called “lies and loose talk.”

Song, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’

But the things that Crockett did do, which are not famous–for those things he deserves to be admired. He’s one of those rare historical figures whom, the better you know him, the more you like him.

Long live the memory of Davy Crockett!

 

An Early American Celebrity: ‘The Jersey Jumper’

Davy Crockett was our country’s first international celebrity, famous mostly for things he didn’t do; but young Sam Patch, a mill hand from New Jersey, had him beat by over a decade.

Sam became famous by jumping off the Passaic Falls and not getting killed. He soon went on tour, performing death-defying jumps off ships’ masts, buildings, and other waterfalls. It gave rise to a popular slogan: “There’s No Mistake in Sam Patch.” I am unable to explain that slogan.

In 1829 Sam became the first insane human being to jump off the top of Niagara Falls. He survived, but the money he earned was insufficient for his needs… so he did it again. Jumped off Niagara Falls twice.

Later that year, jumping off a cliff into the Genessee River, something went wrong. He hit the water badly with a loud crack and never emerged, his frozen body being found a few days later. It’s possible he suffered a heart attack half the way down, which ruined his entry into the water.

He was 22 years old.

He’s been largely forgotten; but “The Wonderful Leaps of Sam Patch,” illustrated above, was published in 1870.

He would’ve been a mega-celebrity on Youtube, these days.

Why did he do it? Fame and money, perhaps: and jumping off waterfalls had to be more thrilling than working as a mill hand. And after jumping off Niagara Falls twice, maybe he felt there was nothing he couldn’t do.

If you’ve ever been to Niagara Falls and seen it with your own eyes, you’ll find Sam’s feat exceedingly hard to imagine. Maybe even impossible.

To risk one’s life for entertainment seems a deeply pagan thing to do.

Song, ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett’

I’m feeling good right now, so, why not?

Hey, remember this song? The Davy Crockett craze of the 1950s, kicked off by Walt Disney’s TV episodes? I never got the coonskin hat, but I had Davy Crockett T-shirts, a genuine cardboard Davy Crockett log cabin, a Davy Crockett cup, and even a Davy Crockett marionette. The fad was about the biggest fad there ever was, while it lasted.

How young Fess Parker looks in that picture!

Here’s one thing you should remember about the real David Crockett.

When he was elected to the House of Representatives, he thought he’d died and gone to heaven. He loved being a Congressman–the campaigning, the speechifying, being in on important public business: not bad at all for a man born into poverty on the wild frontier.

And yet, when it would have been the easiest thing in the world for him to go along with his president (Andrew Jackson), his political party, and popular opinion, Rep Crockett absolutely refused to support the president’s “Indian removal” policy–that is, forcibly evicting the Native Americans from their lands. He opposed it because it was unjust and wrong. Knowing it would cost him his beloved political career, and that his opposition was futile, he opposed it nevertheless, and swore he would oppose it even if he were the only man in America to stand against it. And that was the end of David Crockett, Congressman. When he ran for re-election, he was creamed.

No one ever heard him say he wished he’d saved himself by voting for a wicked policy that was bound to go forward no matter what he did.

Father in Heaven, send us more like him!