If you read this blog regularly you know that I go back a good ways with Josh Kornbluth, the San Francisco monologist/performer (“Red Diaper Baby,” “Haiku Tunnel”). Josh’s most recent show — a hit here in the Bay Area, and soon to open in New York at the Bank Street Theater — is titled “Love and Taxes,” and it recounts, in excruciating comic detail, the consequences of Josh’s many years of failing to file, and what it took him to make things right.
One of the points of the show — beyond providing two hours of great, neurosis-fueled entertainment — is to get audiences to think a little more deeply about taxes, to get beyond the simple knee-jerk of resentment. Cut through the right-wing rhetoric about waste, acknowledge the real problems of government giveaways to corporations and special interests, and you’re left with the very real fact that our taxes pay for important public goods — like education, and medical care, and research, and public safety, and defense, and… You get the point. When the Bush administration’s tax-cutting orgy finally exhausts itself and the nation wakes up with a multitrillion-dollar-deficit headache, we will all miss those things our taxes purchased.
So it’s a propitious moment in history for Kornbluth to begin a new blog, I R Us, propounding the case for taxation. (Full disclosure and/or proud credit-taking: I put it online for him.)
Now, taking arms against America’s long hate affair with taxes may seem a little quixotic, but then Josh, as a child of Communists and a creator of live theater, is no stranger to lost causes and long shots. I think you’ll find his writing hilarious and his ideas provocative. I don’t doubt that he’ll attract a certain number of gawkers who will find the notion of a “pro-tax blog” impossible to take seriously. But then, I think Josh has years of experience dealing with hecklers.