November 12, 2018

Bagels

If You Ever Attend a Meeting Run by Grover Norquist, Know That Your Coffee and Bagel Consumption Will Be Tracked

Bloomberg has a profile of Americans Tax Refund Founder and spending hatchet-man Grover Norquist out today and if you’re not familiar with the man or his mission, you’d think he was the scariest Swede since snark and sass into otherwise dry debates but others don’t see it that way.

Exhibit 1: Former Senator Alan Simpson, is quoted as saying, “If you are in thrall to Grover Norquist,” the Wyoming Republican who co-led the debt panel said he told the group in February, “this country hasn’t got a prayer.”

Exhibit 2: Rep. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-MD) assessment:

“Until Republicans are more afraid of the deficit than they are of Grover Norquist, we’re going to have a problem,” said Representative Christopher Van Hollen of Maryland, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee.

And I suppose, if you are a Democrat, a relatively pragmatic Republican or a cancer survivor (or a nonprofit that fights cancer) Grover could be pretty scary. He doesn’t take too kindly to those in the GOP who want to raise taxes or eliminate reductions or credits that aren’t matched with further reductions in taxes. You can just ask Tom Coburn:

Norquist has attacked Senator Tom Coburn, a onetime member of the Gang of Six, because the Oklahoma Republican raised the possibility of eliminating tax breaks. Norquist said if Coburn agreed to a tax increase “he was elected on a lie.”

Now, based on that, you may get the impression that Norquist is simply a bearded Sarah Palin but you’d be wrong. Bloomberg reports that he while he does sit on the board of the NRA, he also is an adviser to GOProud and that his wife is a Kuwaiti-born Muslim.

But what may make Grover so scary-good at holding people’s feet to the fire is his attention to detail. To be a tax and fiscal wonk, you kinda need to be obe made that way but Bloomberg gives us the impression that his wonkiness transcends simple Federal government matters:

Norquist, who peppers his conversation with comic voices, Chekhov quotes and references to the movie “Grease,” is big on numbers. He knows what year his meeting reached an average of 80 people and when it grew to 100. He keeps charts on how much coffee and how many bagels are consumed, and his staff counts the attendees every 15 minutes so he can graph the flow.

So for any aspiring Grovers or Grovettes out there, this is what you’re emulating. Best start with the simple stuff.

No-Tax ‘Zealot’ Norquist Emerges as Barrier to U.S. Debt Deal [Bloomberg]

Albany Risks Outright Anarchy Enforcing Taxes on Sliced Bagels

The battle between California and New York for the biggest fiscal shitshow has reached new heights as Albany seems to be going after New Yorkers where it really counts.

For many of you living in New York, grabbing a bagel at your local shop is part of the weekday morning routine. You walk in, wait in line, place the order, pay the total and get on with your day. It’s good to know that the one constant in your life is that the Ess-a-Bagel will charge you the same price for your sesame seed bagel with butter day after day after day.

Well! That constant, your rock, your consistently-priced doughy security blanket may soon be stripped away from you. The Journal reported yesterday that bagel chain Bruegger’s got the wrath of the New York Department of Taxation and Finance, demanding that owner Kenneth Greene start collecting “taxes on all bagels, except for those that remain intact and are consumed off premises,” and collected a ‘significant’ sum of taxes owed.

Why, you ask? Because an obscure law on the books says that a sales tax is to be charged on “sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings).” OH! And if you eat your everything with cream cheese and tomato in the shop, you’ll also be charged the tax.


The Post has stretched the lengths of investigative journalism once again to find out that most of the vendors around the City haven’t been charging you the extra 9¢ for that carbolicious breakfast.

[T]he vast majority of the bagel vendors The Post visited yesterday didn’t tax sliced bagels with no toppings as they are supposed to.

“I don’t think it’s fair. Why would I put tax on a sliced bagel when you don’t want nothing on it?” said Basil Colon, a cashier at Daniel’s Bagels on Third Avenue in Murray Hill.

He served a cinnamon-raisin bagel, sliced with no spread, to a Post reporter for $1.10, which didn’t include the extra tax of about 9 cents.

Like many bagel-store workers throughout the city, he didn’t know about the slice tax.

We think we speak for everyone, when we say, “What. The. Fuck. Albany?” This is what it has come to? The dire fiscal needs of the Empire State have gotten to the point that you’re shaking down bagel shops for an extra 9¢ per bagel? Granted, that may be a lot – A LOT – of bagels but you’re applying the smallest bandage in the box to a gaping head wound. A head wound that has caused many to think that the next step is to put a tourniquet on the neck of the state government.

You really want to kill the will of the people? Just keep shit like this up. Next thing you know they’ll start slapping the tax on pizza unless you buy the whole pie…unsliced.

Sliced Bagels, Taxes on Top [WSJ]
NY’s cut of bagel ‘dough’ [NYP]