Every Monday, we offer a label to stick on a phenomenon or issue. Today’s label: sneak-a-tax.
For only 900 billion borrowed dollars, Congress gave American taxpayers a wonderful tax cut! The left made some noise about fat cats getting more than their fair share, but the argument didn’t get much traction. We Americans are a generous people and don’t like afflicting minorities, even of the jillionaire variety. Instead, opponents should look at the long term—not just the deficit but whether tax cuts even exist.
Figaro’s advice to liberals: Point out the hidden costs we pay when Republicans propose tax cuts. Cut back road maintenance, and car maintenance costs go up. Slash park budgets, and you get slapped with user fees. Your state legislature cuts aid to education, and parents suddenly bear an added burden for textbooks, sports and music. Sneak-a-tax! It’s like a tax…but sneaky!
So how do you make a label like that? By familiarizing yourself with homonyms, words that sound the same but have different meanings. Homonyms mean “same name” in ancient Greek. They serve as the raw material of puns. “Tax” and “attacks” are homonyms (well, close enough for government work). So, to create “sneak-a-tax” out of the hidden costs of tax cuts:
- Say what you mean. This so-called tax cut is really just a sneaky way to disguise more taxes.
- List possible homonyms. What sounds like “tax”? Tacks, ax, acts, pax, attacks.
- Put the homonyms in phrases, whether they make sense or not in this context. Thumb tax (on the seat of power!), ax cuts…tax attacks.
- Try your homonyms in context. There’s nothing sneaky about a thumb tax, or a tax attack. But a sneak tax attack yields…a sneak-a-tax!
BTW: Why is Figaro offering advice to the Democrats and not the Republicans? Because he believes in special education.