MONEY or COUNTRY?? — WHAT COMES FIRST??

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GOP Presidential candidates and supporters are in conflict over numerous issues, but lowering taxes is a commitment shared and revered by all involved. Popular rhetoric indicates that taxation is taboo; a government conspiracy that threatens to strangle business growth and destroy the economy in general. Taxation dissenters are united in a quest to avoid payment by whatever means necessary, often to criminal extent, and take pride in condemning the system that insists fair taxation is required to operate and govern sensibly.

Let me relate a personal experience that has provided me with an alternative and lasting pride relating to one citizen’s responsibility as a member of society.

I spent most of my working life in the automobile business, and for a nine-year period  was employed as General Manager of a large new and used car dealership in Ontario, Canada. My dealer principal (we’ll call him Angelo) was a mentor, a friend and the most honest, trustworthy, discerning individual I’ve been privileged to be associated with in my business history.

In the mid-90s; we were approached by an after-market supplier with a new and innovative approach to marketing after-sale items; products like rustproofing, tinted glass, upgraded sound systems, truck accessories etc. These enhancements were and often still are an integral, profitable segment of the car and truck sales process, and were generally not standard equipment in the  manufacture of new vehicles. The company representative provided a very professional, detailed description of how we would benefit from the addition of their extensive array of services, and in addition described a method that would excuse our company from common taxation application. He informed us that loopholes in the Provincial Sales Tax system allowed profits from these after-market products to be deferred to non-taxable off-shore accounts, thereby enabling our dealership to legally accumulate tax-free funds that could be accessed in the world market. In closing; he provided a long list of dealers that were already reaping the benefits of the procedure.

My main function was to maximize net profit, and therefore the entire concept made complete sense to me. I had little doubt that Angelo would be on board with the idea, and anticipated his normal search for further details. Surprising to me, and to the disappointment of the company rep; Angelo had an entirely different angle regarding what had been proposed and was visibly angry.

He began by explaining that his parents had landed at Ellis Island shortly after WW11, and eventually emigrated to Canada. Angelo and his younger sister were with them when they settled in a small Ontario town, and began the struggle to adjust to a new country,  language and atmosphere. He described the frustrations of his father’s initial barriers, being insulted and called a “DP”, a “Wop” a “dumb construction worker”, and his mother’s difficulties in all aspects of this devastating change in their lives. He told of the eventual progress they enjoyed, how they learned the language, became Canadian citizens, had two more children, blended in with the community and gained lasting, loyal friendships. His parents also provided Angelo and his siblings the opportunity to attend school and attain the education that resulted in rewarding life successes of varying degrees. In Angelo’s case; he progressed in the automobile industry and eventually attained an envied franchise that allowed his entire family to reap the benefits of hard work and dedication.

Angelo’s closing comments were something to this effect — He said ” My family was given the opportunity to resettle in Canada at a most uncomfortable time of their lives. They left their Italian homeland, endured and overcame hardships, and as a result; I was able to become a Canadian. I am more than  proud to be able to say this is now MY country. I WANT to pay my taxes; every last penny, because my country needs the money to continue to enable me and others to live here in an environment that is envied everywhere in the world. I am not interested in your ideas or innovations that will void my responsibilities and want you to leave. Now..”

I will always recall leading the visiting rep to the dealership exit door. Neither of us spoke a single word, but I’m sure he was as affected as I by Angelo’s strong and firm resolve. To this day when I hear or read of politicians that advocate the necessity of tax reductions, the resistance to universal health care for all, tax havens for the wealthy, and so many more examples of outright greed in the US; I think of that day with my boss and how I am forever respectful of his appreciation and gratitude to his country.

Have no doubt that Donald Trump would have many adjectives to describe someone like Angelo, not the least of which would be “stupid” or “loser”……

 

No questions today, but more to follow from…

 

Curious Jack

 

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