Will the Mustache Subsidy Be the Next Solyndra?

Like all good satire, a group seeking a $250 deduction for mustachioed men makes a serious comment.

The line separating real life from parody is so exceedingly thin that it can be hard to tell which is which—especially in Washington. So let’s stipulate right at the outset that the American Mustache Institute’s pursuit of a $250 federal tax deduction for men with mustaches is a joke. Yet like all good satire, its humor contains serious comment.

On April 1—April Fool’s Day—the Institute will hold a Million Mustache March in D.C. to champion its cause: the Stimulus To Allow for Critical Hair Expenses Act, or STACHE Act for short. In the meantime, it is following the template inscribed by other interest groups seeking special treatment from Washington. It has a Facebook page, celebrity endorsements, a media campaign, and even a congressional backer. Maryland Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has referred the measure to the House Ways and Means Committee for study.

Like any lobbying group worth its salt, the Institute also has produced a white paper. It explains why special tax treatment of “the activities of the Mustached American people, or people of Mustached American descent or heritage as they are commonly known,” is good not only for men with lip caterpillars, but for the greater welfare of America as a whole.

“Recent studies demonstrate that a Mustached American lifestyle can have a positive impact on the American economy,” writes the author, Dr. John Yeutter. Tea strainers and cookie dusters are also environmentally friendly: They save water and shaving products.

What’s more, the nation has been immeasurably improved by the activity of Mustachioed Americans, from Walt Disney to Martin Luther King, Jr. (to say nothing of icons such as Burt Reynolds and Billy Dee Williams). Mustached American households have slightly higher income, says the Institute, and ought to be encouraged with a tax deduction for necessities such as trimmers, coloring agents, bacon, and “Magnum, P.I.” DVD collections.

Funny stuff. And it’s funny not just because mustaches are inherently amusing. It’s also funny because it mimics so well the way special interests pretend they are acting on behalf of the common good – and the way others buy it.

Proponents of clean energy, to cite one of example of many, produce papers purporting to show that federal loan guarantees, tax subsidies, and so on are employment bonanzas. President Obama’s energy policies “have provided thousands of much-needed jobs in Michigan and other recession-battered states,” writes The New York Times about the program that gave us the Solyndra scandal.

Ditto the stimulus, whose estimates of job creation are based not on actual head counts, but on guestimates and formulas. Yet when The Wall Street Journal went in search of actual workers who had been employed because of section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – a program that handed out billions for alternative-energy projects, which ostensibly created more than 100,000 new jobs – it could find only a few hundred.

The Mustache Institute, like nearly every other industry in America, is engaged in what is known as rent-seeking: the pursuit of economic advantage through political means. Rent-seeking is incessant in Washington because it works—and works well. Politicians love to lavish special treatment on favored groups, from farm subsidies to tax credits for renewable energy investments. The federal tax code ran to a little more than 26,000 pages in 1984. It now exceeds 72,500, thanks largely to the myriad special favors Congress has written into it.

And once a special favor is conferred, it becomes almost absurdly difficult to get rid of. Take the mohair subsidy, created after WWII out of concern that domestic producers might not be able to supply enough wool to clothe the armed forces in future wars. The military phased out wool uniforms not long afterward. But the loans and price supports continued until the mid-1990s. They finally were killed off – only to rise again from the dead a few years later.

This sort of thing happens because of what Jonathan Rauch calls demosclerosis. The beneficiaries of each federal program have a powerful financial stake to organize and lobby for its continuation. The average citizen, on the other hand, has very little reason to oppose any particular program by itself – even though he might resent such favoritism in the aggregate. So the programs proliferate until eventually, as Hungarian philosopher Anthony de Jasay argues, the economy becomes so muddied that nobody has any idea whether he is better or worse off, on balance, from the redistributionary churn.

It’s fitting that the Million Mustache March will take place on April Fool’s Day. At least the American people will know they’re being pranked—for once.

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where this article originally appeared.

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  • Almanian||

    When even mustache rides aren't free any more...

  • [MUST]ache Lockdown Fail||

    [MUST] we allow the [MUST]ache lockdown to continue? Am I not free to gambol across bushy and Fu Manchu?

    [MUST]y fibertarian [MUST]ache [MUST]aken Identities are depr hurr durr hurr!

    - Ted 'Stash' Horsecock Lover
    "Reminiscences" - 1972

  • The nature of White Imbeciles||

    "... to fling shit when they are startled and exited has been a special area of study for me," so says Dr. Kimberly Clark after a study of White Imbeciles in the wild.

    Since it has been known through empirical studies that White Imbeciles are animals, their behavior in the wild has been the subject of intense study by several researchers, including Dr. Clark.

    "What we found is that White Imbeciles engage in very repetitive behavior, clearly a manifestation of instinct and not much else, but the most fascinating aspect of this behavior is their flinging of shit everywhere."

    "Studying White Imbeciles In The Wild,"
    Dr. Kimberly Clark
    University of Clark County Press
    1972 Pages 230-320

  • Libertard flings shit all over||

    Same ol' shit, different day.

  • Land enTITLEment is a subsidy||

    Privation Property is possible only with direct subsidy of violence. Even libertarians admit it when they say: WE NEED GOVERNMENT TO PROTECT PROPERTY.

    But I say unto you, Any property that needs government to protect it is illegitimate.

    Legitimate Private Property has been traditionally honored for tens of thousands of years in human history.

    Illegitimate Privation Property needs the aggression of the State.

    Fibertarianism is the political philosophy of whitewashing that aggression necessary for illegitimate property.

  • anon||

    Also, fuck you. That is all.

  • You philosophy melts away....||

    ...and all you can do is mewl third grade imprecations.

    The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said "This is mine," and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars, and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows: Beware of listening to this imposter; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.

    ~Jean Jacques Rousseau
    Discourse on the Origin and Basis of Inequality Among Men (1754)

    Guess what? Rousseau was right. AND Fibertarianism is actually on the side of city-Statist AGGRESSION!

    Ouch! How's that Non-Aggression Principle standing up now, agricultural city-Statist?

  • ||

    Did you ever consider that no one takes you seriously enough to actually merit a proper response?

    Guess not.

  • You're intellectually bankrupt||

    That's why you can't respond.

    Just like any Commie boy who can't respond to legitimate criticism of a failed philosophy.

  • "White Imbeciles have no||

    intellect to speak about," so says Dr. Kimberly Clark after a study of White Imbeciles in the wild.

    Since it has been known through empirical studies that White Imbeciles are animals, their behavior in the wild has been the subject of intense study by several researchers, including Dr. Clark.

    "What we found is that White Imbeciles engage in very repetitive behavior, clearly a manifestation of instinct and not much else [...] a lack of intellect is the only logical conclusion to this behavior but the most fascinating aspect of this behavior is their flinging of shit everywhere."

    "Studying White Imbeciles In The Wild,"
    Dr. Kimberly Clark
    University of Clark County Press
    1972, Pages 320 through 345

  • Brother Grimm||

    "You're intellectually bankrupt|3.2.12 @ 11:18AM|#
    That's why you can't respond.

    Just like any Commie boy who can't respond to legitimate criticism of a failed philosophy."

    Yeah. That's gotta be it.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Godesky bitching about "commie boys"... now that's irony.

  • Marx-Mises Axis of Evil||

    Officer, am I free to Gambol?

    MARX: NYET!
    MISES: NO!

    Both Marx and Mises are agricultural city-Statists.

  • OH, and...||

    The Native Fake is a secret agent of the Fascist Tax-Collectors. That, the faker cannot and will not deny.

  • Correct, Right Wing Marxist||

    "Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics."

    Marxism of the Right
    By Robert Locke
    The American Conservative
    www.theamericanconservative.co...../14/00017/

  • The repetitious behavior of||

    "... White Imbeciles is an indication of purely instinctive, non-intellectual activity," so says Dr. Kimberly Clark after a study of White Imbeciles in the wild.

    Since it has been known through empirical studies that White Imbeciles are animals, their behavior in the wild has been the subject of intense study by several researchers, including Dr. Clark.

    "What we found is that White Imbeciles engage in very repetitive behavior, clearly a manifestation of instinct and not much else, but the most fascinating aspect of this behavior is their flinging of shit everywhere."

    "Studying White Imbeciles In The Wild,"
    Dr. Kimberly Clark
    University of Clark County Press
    1972 Pages 133-232

  • ||

    Well, for one, it is covering my stiff upper lip...

  • Why White Imbeciles fling shit||

    "You know when White Imbeciles are startled and exited - they start to fling their shit like hippos," so says Dr. Kimberly Clark after a study of White Imbeciles in the wild.

    Since it has been known through empirical studies that White Imbeciles are animals, their behavior in the wild has been the subject of intense study by several researchers, including Dr. Clark.

    "What we found is that White Imbeciles engage in very repetitive behavior, clearly a manifestation of instinct and not much else, but the most fascinating aspect of this behavior is their flinging of shit everywhere."

    "Studying White Imbeciles In The Wild,"
    Dr. Kimberly Clark
    University of Clark County Press
    1972

  • Privation Property = Subsidy||

    We
    Need
    Government
    to Protect
    Illegitimate Privation Property
    that we had
    THE RIGHT TO TAKE.

    "[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land ... Any white person who brought the element of civilization had THE RIGHT TO TAKE over this continent."

    ~Ayn Rand, US Military Academy at West Point, March 6, 1974

    P.S. Questions:
    • Is any white person's right an individual or collective right?
    • Is the right to take a negative or positive right?

  • The repetitious behavior of||

    "... White Imbeciles is an indication of purely instinctive, non-intellectual activity," so says Dr. Kimberly Clark after a study of White Imbeciles in the wild.

    Since it has been known through empirical studies that White Imbeciles are animals, their behavior in the wild has been the subject of intense study by several researchers, including Dr. Clark.

    "What we found is that White Imbeciles engage in very repetitive behavior, clearly a manifestation of instinct and not much else, but the most fascinating aspect of this behavior is their flinging of shit everywhere."

    "Studying White Imbeciles In The Wild,"
    Dr. Kimberly Clark
    University of Clark County Press
    1972 Pages 133-232

  • The logician has spoken||

    But I say unto you, Any property that needs government to protect it is illegitimate.


    Ergo, the property I possess and that can be protected by my two little friends, Smith and Wesson, is 100% legitimate.

    So say the White Imbecile - hear, hear!

    (Expect the backpeddaling any minute, now....)

  • Privation Property = Subsidy||

    can be protected by my two little friends

    Bullshit Fibertarian fantasy.

    It takes government to enforce privation property, which is why every single agricultural civilization has government.

  • See? What did I tell you?||

    Bullshit Fibertarian fantasy.


    Backpeddaling.

    It takes government to enforce privation property


    I say it doesn't. Wanna put your theory to the test?

    which is why every single agricultural civilization has government.


    You're begging the question, you uneducated fool.

  • Gun Fantasy Bullshit Exposed||

    I say it doesn't.

    Example please?

    Where in history is there an agricultural civilization (with settlements 5000+) that exists without State level politics (government?)

  • Who said anything about||

    agricultural city-states? I'm talking about MY property, you uneducated fool.

    "Any property that needs government to protect it is illegitimate."

    Which means any property that doesn't is legitimate. I say mine is legitimate and I can prove it to you.

    You're backpeddaling and now claim that private property cannot be legitimate ever - otherwise you would not say my contention is bullshit. So much for "Legitimate Private Property has been traditionally honored for tens of thousands of years in human history."

  • you live in agricultural civ.||

    Look around you, fool.

    You live in an agricultural city-Statist (civilization) sociopolitical typology. (You don't live in a Non-State band, tribe, or chiefdom, the only other sociopolitical typologies.)

    Sociopolitical typology
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.....l_typology

    You pay property taxes for the service of protecting state-grated enTITLEment to Land, land that was taken by force.

  • Continue to backpeddal,||

    you swine?

    "You live in an agricultural city-Statist (civilization) sociopolitical typology. "

    So what? Who cares? YOU posited the condition: Property that does not require government protection is legitimate. I can SHOW YOU that my property does not require government protection, ergo my property is legitimate. Who cares if around me is a city-state? I can be surrounded by women, that would not make me a woman, you stupid fool.

    You lack education. Any idiot can cut-and-paste. You're an uneducated, deluded fool who can't even forward intelligent arguments.

  • You pay Property Taxes||

    Which is just paying the Agricultural city-Statism (civiliation) piper for the aggression he commits daily to enforce your Statist Privation Property Rights.

  • I don't pay shit in taxes,||

    you moronic fool. My property is not limited to land, you of limited mind. I don't need no stinking jack-booted thugs to protect my property.

    Go ahead, prove your theory that I can only hold on to property with the help of the State. Go on - I dare you.

  • Not all property=illegitimate.||

    To reiterate, legitimate private property has been traditionally honored for tens of thousands of years by Non-State societies. As Attorney Jeff Vail notes:

    (con't)

  • Attorney Jeff Vail on Property||

    The tribal institution of “Ownership by use” on the other hand, suggests simply that one can only “own” those things that they put to immediate, direct and personal use to meet basic needs—and not more. A society crosses the memetic Rubicon when it accepts the abstraction that ownership can extend beyond the exclusive needs of one individual for survival. (Read Jason Godesky on Ownership) Abstract ownership begins when society accepts a claim of symbolic control of something without the requirement of immediate, direct and personal use. Hierarchy, at any level, requires this excess, abstract ownership—it represents the symbolic capital that forms the foundation of all stratification.

    Chapter 9 - Forward, to Rhizome
    Jeff Vail
    A Theory of Power
    www.jeffvail.net/2005/03/theor.....nline.html

  • pmains||

    I think you misspelled "unmedicated." I have no problem believing that WI has spent many years in academia absorbing all sorts of nonsense.

  • Creationist Fundamentalist||

    And Fibertarian Fundamentalist always have a problem with the smart boys.

  • The backpeddaling||

    intellectual midget does not want to face his own contradiction, now resorts to lame and unwarranted boasts and insults: "Fibertarian Fundamentalist always have a problem with the smart boys."

    The poor bastard thinks he's debating Christian Fundamentalists here. He's certainly deluded and unmedicated.

    So what happened to your contention that private property that does not require the protection of the state is legitimate? I can show you, I don't need governent, ergo my property is legitimate. Are you still going to backpeddal and resort to insults? You remind me of Nomad after captain Kirk showed it it was in error:

    "Faulty! Error! Error! Faulty!"

  • Market Fundamentalism=religion||

    Economists instead were assigned the task to dispense priestly blessings that would allow business to operate independent of damaging political manipulation. They accomplished this task by means of their message of “laissez faire religion, based on a conception of a society composed of competing individuals”...Admittedly, as the economic “symbolism got farther and farther from reality, it required more and more ceremony to keep it up.”
    — Robert H. Nelson, REACHING FOR HEAVEN ON EARTH

    Economic efficiency has been the greatest source of social legitimacy in the United States for the past century, and economists have been the priesthood defending this core social value of our era.
    — Robert H. Nelson, ECONOMICS AS RELIGION

  • GamBol=somEthingSomethiNg DerP||

    Fibertarians lie! Proof of the libtard anti-mustache GamBol lockdown here! www.nocirc.org HAH!..Here is another oNe! www.incredibleegg.org/DeviledEgg Libtard cITy/statists CAN'Tanswer this one either can you? WAAH! Call the KOch brotherS! No one can refute my LOgic. Why won't anyone answer ME? AFRAID?

  • Maybe he is unmedicated,||

    because he has not replied to my challenge or to my rebuttal. He's very likely looking frantically for his Thorazine as we read.

  • Fibertard gonna fib||

  • Fat white guy from Pittsburgh||

    gonna act all Native American and shit.

  • OH, and...||

    Anti-Private = Anti-PRIVacy.

    This is overlooked by hysterical haters of the independent individual. Thus their support for the Surveillance State Kop Force.

  • Mocking the City-State||

    It's a good thing.

  • Ted "Stash" Horsecock Lover||

    Your ideas intrigue me, and I want to have anal sex with you.

    I mean...subscribe to your newsletter.

  • Number 7||

    that made me laugh.

  • NEIGHHHHHHH!||

    ouch!

  • anon||

    Article was good. That is all.

  • ||

    What’s more, the nation has been immeasurably improved by the activity of Mustachioed Americans

    Did Woodrow Wilson have a moustache?

    I rest my case.

  • anon||

    Know who else had a mustache?

  • ||

    Teddy Roosevelt?

  • sarcasmic||

    Monica Lewinski?

  • Hers was a 'Milk" moustache.||

  • Ice Nine ||

    Salvador Dali?

  • el Commentariosa||

    Queen Victoria?

  • Charlotte Sometimes||

    Uncle Pecos?

  • Almanian||

    Warty's mom?

  • ||

    Eleanor Rooooosevelt?

  • Ice Nine ||

    OK, look, no homoage but it just has to be noted for the record that Sam Elliot is the--studliest--guy--ever.

  • Mainer||

    I'm secure enough in my masculinity to say it: Sam Elliot is one good looking guy.

  • Ice Nine ||

    And his looks ain't the half of it.

  • Almanian||

    John Wayne was gay.

  • Number 7||

    The dude abides.

  • Ice Nine ||

    Best Sam line: (after he kicks the guy's ACL out on the loading dock) - "that sure does hurt don't it."

  • Loki||

    I'd probably go with "Custer was a pussy" - from We Were Soldiers

  • Britt||

    No, from the same scene

    "Well I sure ain't gonna show you my dick."

  • Mainer||

    In movie credits, you often see odd sounding jobs. Gaffer, foley artist, best boy....

    If you watch the credits for the movie Tombstone, there is a credit for someone with the job "Mustache Wrangler"

    True story.

  • Ice Nine ||

    Oh yeah, I've seen it. That was a big job on that flick.

  • whosaidthat||

    Facial hair stimulus:

    THIS IS WHAT TONY ACTUALLY BELIEVES IN.

  • Obi Wan Kenobi||

    Funny stuff. And it’s funny not just because mustaches are inherently amusing. It’s also funny because it mimics so well the way special interests pretend they are acting on behalf of the common good – and the way others buy it.


    Who is more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?

  • Brother Grimm||

    All right. Who want a mustache ride?

  • el Commentariosa||

    "go faster stripe"

  • ||

    If this group doesn't have The Stache fronting for them, they are missing a golden opportunity.

  • ||

    Rollie Fingers.

    That is all.

  • Ska||

    Rollie Fingers is to sports moustaches what Oscar Gamble was to sports Afros.

    Great for baseball cards.

  • Almanian||

    Oh, come on - Julius Erving pre-merger. THAT was some MF'ing, dunk-from-the-top-of-the-circle 'froness.

    Solid.

    *raised gloved fist*

  • ||

    Is there a moustache hall of fame?
    I guess that would include beards too.
    And let's not forget that some women have mustaches. I think Julia Roberts had a small one in her first film, before she got famous and rich and could afford surgery.
    Katie Hepburn too.

  • Loki||

    I wonder if Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters will participate in the million mustache march?

    There's a 'stache worthy of taxpayer subsidy. Think of all the trimmers that man must go through and how many people are employed making them because of his epic lip ferret.

  • That myth has been busted.||

    ;)

  • Shoot.||

    To think that I just cut my 'stache. I guess I should lie and apply for the subsidy anyway -- under multiple names.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    This is obviously a tax cut for the handlebar class.

  • Almanian||

    Also Dennis Gage from "My Classic Car". Epic, waxed handlebar. Unwaxed when he's on a moorsickle.

    Rollie-Fingers-league stache.

  • ||

    http://news.yahoo.com/wolfman-.....-news.html

    Is "Danny Ramos Gomez" an alias of Steve Smith?

  • Michael Moore's bro||

    An article on mustache's and not one mention of Lee Horsley... Outrageous!

  • Well known fact....||

    Fake Primitivist is a secret agent for the Tax-Collecting Fascist state. "Defund Leviathan" is anathema to the "everything you have is really mine and I need the Kops to grab it" mentality of the faker.

  • Who'd have thought?||

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