Democrat Omaha mayor Jim Suttle recently went to Washington with a plan to fund city sewer systems. He thought he was on a roll – a toilet paper roll.
His idea was to have a federal tax of ten cents on every roll of toilet paper. Suttle felt it was a soft target. One that every legislator would be willing to plunge in and pass. Rich or poor, white or black, all Americans have to buy toilet paper. Why not take advantage of it?
Well, given the genius Americans have for ways to avoid taxes, this idea might not be as Charmin as he thinks. The uber rich find a way to secrete money overseas and avoid taxes. Crafty citizens have reworked the laws, too, to cut down on Uncle Sam’s take. For instance, in municipalities that wanted to tax lot frontage or extra rooms, builders were inspired to make shotgun houses that negated their taxing ways.
So it would be with the toilet paper roll. Ten cents wouldn’t look so bad on a roll as big as a car tire, would it? Lots of us would put up with the inconvenience of a giant wheel in the bathroom if it saved $2 every tiime we bought toilet paper.
Or perhaps our toilet paper could have printed material on it. Then, it could qualify for no or lower taxes enjoyed on printed or educational material. After all, what could be a more natural marriage than the newspaper and toilet paper? Reading on the throne is a long practiced American tradition. And, don’t most of us consider newspapers crap anyhow?
The toilet paper roll could also be switched to another shape. The Sears catalog used to perform its function in the country outhouse. Why not tear off books that could be similarly used in today’s trendy bathrooms? They could call it “The Real Toilet Pages.” An instant best seller! With a few accommodations to the printing press, it might even revive the flagging book publishing industry.
Americans would be positively flush with ideas. We always have.