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Blue Star


By Scott Sullivan


Tampon Tax

Germany has cut its tampon tax in time for Thanksgiving. Until now the fatherland, viewing menstrual products as luxury, tacked on 19 percent to each purchase. In contrast, lawmakers tacked on 7 percent for everyday needs like pet goldfish.

Elsewhere in modern Europe, Hungary has a 27-percent tampon tax; Denmark, Croatia and Sweden 25 percent. Ireland charges nothing.

Germans celebrate Thankgiving differently than we do. Here, we stuff ourselves with turkey and more from the harvest haul, then men watch the Lions lose on TV while women, who did all the cooking, do all the cleanup. It’s like our version of a tampon tax, but would women eat microwave pizza we’d cook?

In Germany, Erntedank the first Sunday in October includes church services, feasting, music, dancing and awarding a harvest queen crown to some mädchen.

I’m thankful fall — at least mine — is over. I tripped trying to lug an over-stuffed laundry basket upstairs, harvesting 12 staples in my head and a broken elbow.

Outside the hospital window on Veterans Day snow was general over West Michigan. It was falling on Saugatuck and Douglas, on …” my drug-addled mind fused into the end of James Joyce’s short story “The Dead,” which I’d nearly been.

“It’s going to be hell driving into work,” I told the nurse.

“Work? You’re not driving anywhere till you’re off drugs and can steer with your right arm again,” she ordered.

Working from home is a luxury I can’t afford. I need to interact directly with people here, drink in as much as my senses let me.

Speaking of limited sense, House Ethics committees are investigating Michigan Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Bill Huizenga (R-Jenison) for allegedly using campaign funds for private purposes.

Tlaib is one of four new socialist congresswomen whom President Trump says should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.

“They never have anything good to say,” adds Trump, whose praise for himself overflows like a cornucopia. “At times I don’t think they love our country.”

Huizenga is the kind of West Michigan rep you’d expect — co-owner of a third-generation family gravel company who says, “We have to change those old Washington ways. We must control our spending.”

He blames “Nancy Pelosi’s foot soldiers” for charges he spent campaign funds on dinners, family trips to Disney World and other nonpolitical destinations.

Tlaib, the eldest of 13 children born to working-class Palestinian immigrants, claims the $17,500 she pocketed after her fiscally-strapped 2018 House campaign was for work she had done before the election.

Given their backgrounds, who would guess one of these reps was a capitalist, the other a socialist. One thing they can agree on is the other side is to blame for charges of wrongdoing they’re committed.

Far be it from me to suggest “R’s do it, D’s do it, politicians educated to grab fees do it.” House ethics committee? There’s an oxymoron. Look for tsk-tsks to emerge all around.

Perhaps Huizenga and Tlaib could hammer out their differences on a joint taxpayer-funded junket to Disney World, as long as there’s no Mickey Mouse between them.

Rolling back the tampon tax is a step forward in a world grown increasingly retroactive. In Europe, politics are centuries more mature than ones in America. Germans would never pull taxes out of their assemblies unless it flowed back to them however indirectly they could disguise it.

“It’s a Small World After All” is the theme song for not only Disney but all when there’s cash to grab.