Do We Really Need Tax Deductions For…

Complicated Enough?

Mustaches?  Like many distinguished Americans, I have one.  John Stossel wears a mustache.  Of course, then again, there’s that Gerald Riviera fellow, also on Fox, who wears one too, and he’s not so distinguished.  When this former baby-face arrived at basic training, just having turned eighteen, I’m not sure I could grow a mustache yet.   I soon outgrew that, and in fact, since maturing into a razor-blade-wrecker, I’ve worn a mustache almost continuously for more than 20 years, except for that one trimming incident that caused me to start over.  Mustaches are fine if you like them, but if not, well, then they’re not, but why is somebody pushing to create a tax deduction of up to $250 annually for mustache grooming expenses?

You might think this is a joke, but it turns out that that there’s not only a legislative proposal but also a lobbying group ostensibly pushing this for legislation. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to deduct another $250 from my taxable income, but I must wonder about the nonsense that get through in Washington DC.  Is this what makes up these multi-thousand page bills that nobody reads before voting to enact them?  If you’re like me, then you probably suspect that this is so, and this incident serves as another reminder of how thoroughly out-of-touch Washington DC is with the average citizen.  I did the math, and I figured out that between haircuts($8) and razor blades, even if I replace my mustache trimmer annually, I can’t reach $250 in expenses on hair of any sort, never mind my mustache alone.  If you wear a mustache and spend $250 annually grooming it, please contact me to explain.  I’m truly interested, and I promise not to mock you or call you a metro-sexual. Much.

In fact, I cannot fathom how anybody would expend the resources to pursue such a thing, and yet there actually exists a group, the American Mustache Institute, devoted to fighting discrimination against mustaches and those who wear them.  It’s real.  They’re actually organizing an event they’re calling the “Million Mustache March,” all in support of their favorite facial hair.  Not surprisingly, they even have a Facebook page for that event.  The Stache Act is actually even an acronym: “Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expense.”  I don’t know if this is somebody trying to make some other point, an idea I first thought when I read the article, or whether this is 100% serious, but it seems like the latter.

As it turns out, Congressman Roscoe Bartlett allegedly referred the legislation, but according to his press secretary, there’s no actual legislation yet at this point, throwing the whole thing into question. An update to the Weekly Standard article reveals:

Lisa Wright called Wednesday morning to clarify that she only referred the mustache proposal to the Ways and Means Committee, and did not actually send a bill to the committee. In a follow-up message left on my voicemail, Wright says, “Please check Thomas to look for the Stache Act. You will not find it. It does not exist. There is no bill. There is no legislation. And an advocacy group that characterizes it as legislation—and you used that term with me—does not make it legislation.”

So it’s a legislative proposal, but not an actual bill.  The fact that something like this could go this far, whether legitimate legislation, or just a proposal, really doesn’t speak well of Congress generally.  Is this really the pressing issue some are making it out to be?  Is somebody trying to play “gotcha” with Roscoe Bartlett(R-MD,) or is this a real effort?  The fact that the Facebook page claims to be sponsored by H&R block seems almost too cliched to be true, implying that company’s vested interest in tax loopholes of every sort.  Unfortunately, it seems that clicking the Facebook link on their main site indeed refers you to the aforementioned page.

I suspect a marketing scheme, but who really knows?  It’s impossible to sort out the real from the hoax in Washington DC these days, and perhaps that’s the real point, whether serious proposal or parody at some unsuspecting Congressman’s expense: It’s not really beyond the boundaries of credulity.  It’s not beyond the pale.  In Washington DC, nothing is too much to believe these days, and it’s a common problem throughout the Federal government.  The beast is out of control, but I can promise you this:  In the coming campaign season, I am going to have my own Hall of Shame for politicians, and any who push an actual bill on this to the floor for a vote are going to catch all the hell I can heap on them, in part for the wastefulness of it, but more importantly, because anybody taken in by this doesn’t deserve to be in Congress.  They had all better begin reading those legislative proposals more carefully.



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