This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
The Sun is in receipt of a telegram from the former foreign editor of the New York Times, Craig Whitney, taking issue with the way our columnist Ira Stoll characterizes the tax plan Hillary Clinton is expected to unveil tomorrow. Mr. Stoll calls it an “exit tax” on companies that would move their headquarters out of America or merge with foreign firms in order to “escape America’s unreasonably high corporate taxes.” Mr. Stoll likens Mrs. Clinton’s scheme to the Reichsfluchtsteuer, or a Reich flight tax, imposed in 1931 by the Weimar chancellor Heinrich Bruning.
This doesn’t sit too well with Mr. Whitney, a distinguished newspaperman who speaks all known languages and once covered Germany. His telegram to the Sun suggests Mrs. Clinton’s demarche sounds more like a Steuerzahlervergunstigungsgesetz. We haven’t done a double-blind study, but we believe that this editorial marks the first time that 32-letter word has ever been used in a headline. Google Translate is unable to reconfigure the word in English. But Mr. Whitney represents it means “taxpayer relief act.”
The logic of using the concept of “taxpayer relief act,” Mr. Whitney suggests in his cable, is that it would provide “relief from the additional taxes that corporate tax evasion (Steuerflucht) makes necessary.” But that would imply that the profits on which taxes are levied are at conception the property of the state, whereas they are the property of the maker of the profits. It’s not, after all, the making of profits but rather the spending by the government that creates the necessity of taxes. So Steuerzahlervergunstigungsgesetz strikes us as is not quite the right word.
Maybe this could be settled by sticking with Reichsfluchtsteuer favored by Mr. Stoll and coming up with another word for the tax avoidance at the center of this brouhaha. Discounting for the fact that your editor was once officially called “the worst French student to have matriculated at Harvard since the college was founded in 1636” and is better at French than German, how about Entlastungvonstaatsausgabengesetz, which Google translates as “relief from government spending act.” This is not what Mrs. Clinton is fixing to announce. The German word for what she will propose is typischedemokratischeParteiMarxistenLeninistenDiebstahlSchema.