Mustache Subsidies: What Price Freedom?

by Jonah Goldberg

I say this with only moderate fear of contradiction: No conservative group blog has dedicated more time and energy to battling the evil of pogonophobia than the Corner. We have discussed irrational fear of facial hair countless times around here. But in this time of fiscal mayhem even we pogonophiles (assuming that’s a word) must draw the line somewhere. Indeed, whether you are a pogonophobe or a pogonophile or simply neutral on the question of facial hair, I think we can all agree that there should be no subsides for facial hair of any kind. What you grow on your entire face or just your upper lip is an entirely personal decision that government has no role in whatsoever. What’s next a facial hair mandate? A ban? We are on the razor’s edge here, so to speak.

Via Daniel Harper over at The Weekly Standard (where you can find the relevant links), we learn that the American Mustache Institute announced today that:

After barnstorming the Nation’s Capitol in support of the proposed Stache Act (details and white paper here), the office of of [sic] Maryland 6th district U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett informed the American Mustache Institute that the congressman has begun the process of ensuring the‘Stache Act becomes law by passing the proposal to the House Ways and Means Committee for study — an essential first step for tax legislation.

According to AMI’s website, “The Stache Act (Stimulus to Allow for Critical Hair Expenses) aims to earn a well-deserved $250 annual tax deduction for every Mustached American for expenditures on mustache grooming supplies.”

Now the good news is this is all apparently an April Fool’s Day prank. The bad news, as reported by Halper,  is that Bartlett didn’t in fact fall for it. Instead an aide referred it to the Ways and Means Committee without clearing it with the boss first. One has to assume she’s in a spot of trouble, though perhaps mercy might be in order.

Still, I can’t help but think there’s a metaphor or something in here somewhere — about how we got ourselves in this mess in the first place. Maybe when Mark Steyn gets back from Australia he can clarify this chin-scratcher for us.