Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Some days ago, an article I read suggested that tax-day has been delayed because of the Coronavirus. This is good news for me as I realized that I actually don’t have my W2 from the college. Oh, it’s not their fault; I imagine they have the wrong address, or maybe I just wasn’t aware that I was supposed to have picked it up myself. What’s more, living paycheck to paycheck and with some 1099 income, I don’t know how I will pay what I owe anyway. Maybe if it’s delayed, I can find the cash somewhere.
A friend of mine was telling me about when he visited a classroom and spoke with the students about his job as a police officer. He apparently told them that everything that he does is to protect people. One of the students asked about writing tickets for expired license plates. “I must admit,” he said, “that one had me stumped.”
Car license registration is a form of taxation. It might seem, as it did to my friend, that enforcement of such tax collection is unrelated to public safety, but this is really not the case. As I explained to this police officer, the taxes collected from this source are used to pay for road repairs, civil servants picking up road debris, signage and traffic control lights and even the salary of the officers who are involved in other duties more obviously aligned with public safety.
It’s easy to complain about taxes. Too often they are used for things that we as individuals might not agree with. I have been opposed to the war in Afghanistan from day one (and I believe I have blogged about it), so why should my taxes pay for it? I disagree with most things the current president is doing, especially in the way that he is giving welfare to corporations while cutting support for citizens, so why should I foot the bill to make the rich richer especially when they themselves don’t pay taxes to contribute?
Ugh, I’m talking myself into avoiding tax.
But the reality is that the burden of taxes is greater than the individual programs and activities that they support. What is, in my opinion, mismanagement by the current politicians has led to tremendous increase in national debt and lost tax revenue, but this is a case of tax policy that is out of balance. I don’t believe the war in Afghanistan was ever ethical, and I can proudly state that I voted against the president who started it. I don’t believe my tax money should be supporting corporate socialism, and again, I can proudly state that I voted against the president who is providing it. If we don’t want our tax money to go towards those things that we don’t support, then it is incumbent upon us to actually listen to what candidates are saying, and instead of voting party line to actually vote our conscious. I’m proud that soon we should have another vote and another opportunity to get the war mongers and corporate greed supporters out of office.
But in the meantime, our taxes support our society as a whole. That’s the important thing. As I recall, FDR jump started the economy after the great depression with his “New Deal”, a massive spending bill not to give money away, but to build our nations infrastructure thereby putting people back to work while at the same time getting much-needed projects completed. As I understand it, our interstate system was one of the products of this “socialist” program, a travel network without which our economy could not have grown as it has.
I do believe in many “socialist” programs that people like to complain about. I believe in supporting education, even though I don’t have children, because I know that our future society will be far better and much more advanced with an educated populace. I believe in food, health and support programs for the elderly who have dedicated their lives to putting us where we are today, our expecting mothers for carrying our hopes for the future, and the medically challenged because I believe that, morally, we should be taking care of each other. I believe in taxes being used to repair our crumbling bridges and other infrastructure to keep our nation moving because this is how we will continue to grow. I even believe in “socialist” programs that don’t yet exist, like universal health care, because this keeps the cost of health care down whether people realize it or not, especially since without it, the only people who will pay hospital expenses are those who can afford insurance, and believe me, insurance will make more money than they spend.
Yes, complain about how our taxes are being spent if you don’t agree with it. Complaining is our right as Americans (even as some current politicians are trying to outlaw it). But taxes in general? If they’re reasonable, just remember; we all need to pitch in to help our nation build a brighter future.