When it come to politics and prostitution, Italians always seem to be trail blazers. They are always finding new ways to gridlock their political systems, and better ways to conduct their affairs. [See their controversial president for smarmy details]. However, right now politics and prostitution are intersecting in a serious clash of interests. Italian husbands have raised their voices in protest to the government's repeated increase in income taxes.
A 48-year-old lawyer, Vincente Catalano of Rome, has become the rallying point: "These tax rates are killing my romantic life." Translated, he and other husbands are being forced to give up their second apartments. "I can no longer afford a mistress." Which in Italy -- if not most of western Europe -- is an honored way of life going back centuries. Even the clergy who preached against it engaged in it.
In our more Puritanical/Evangelical United States, mistresses have traditionally been condemned. At least publicly. But not back in Rome where husbands stand by the ancient code: "A mistress is the best guarantee of a happy marriage." It's a mantra that has even earned some legitimacy among sociologists who have studied [perhaps practiced] its history in their country.
Former Notre Dame coach Lou Holtz, himself no Italian, has appropriately observed: "Never tell your problems to anyone; twenty percent don't care, and the other eighty percent are glad you have them!" However, this is a problem that strikes close to the home of almost every marriage in Rome. Cutting loose one's mistress augurs serious financial fallout. In lost apartment rentals...second incomes...and personal freedom. The foundations of European civilization may be at stake!
If the American Tea Party has its way, there will be no new taxes. But here's the question. Does this mean a balanced budget along with more affordable affairs....? Only Congress can decide that. Considering the number of their mistresses, I'm seeing a big win for Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, and especially Rick Santorum.
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