Today is Tax Day, the deadline for filing one’s income taxes in the USA. Even though I filed mine a while back, I still always stop and ponder our tax situation on the deadline day.
First of all, I pay a lot of taxes and I really don’t mind it. I’m lucky enough to have a good job, at least for now, so I don’t mind contributing to the good of the country.
I don’t mind paying Medicare and Social Security withholding taxes as they are a part of the social contract we have with the government to support today’s seniors now and ensure we aren’t destitute and without medical care when we get old. I’ve kept my part of this bargain by paying into the system since I was 16 years old and I expect the government to live up to their end of the deal and not change things this late in the game.
I don’t mind paying taxes even though I’m a Gay man who can’t file a joint return with his partner. I don’t mind paying taxes to support education even though we will never have children. I don’t mind paying taxes to build high-speed rail and save our crumbling infrastructure. I don’t mind paying taxes to prevent those people and their children not as lucky as me from starving or doing without medical care. I don’t mind paying taxes to build give poor children a head start or to create jobs by exploring clean energy and energy efficient cars. I don’t mind paying taxes that support internet improvements and expansion so we can link the country to the world. I don’t mind paying taxes to provide benefits to our Veterans who have served our country. I don’t mind paying taxes to enrich our country’s cultural and artistic life.
I do mind that my taxes support unnecessary wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I do mind that I pay more taxes than Exxon Mobile, GE and Bank of America, who don’t pay any. I do mind that my tax rate ended up being higher than the 17% tax rate that most of the wealthiest 1% of Americans paid- if they paid at all. I do mind that so many Corporations don’t pay any taxes and spend billions lobbying Congress to keep it that way.
I guess my thought has always been that we have an obligation to give back. It’s part of the social contract.
None of us will ever be completely happy with how our tax dollars are spent. But we do need to realize the obligation we have to society to pay these taxes. We also need to do our best to elect Representatives that will make everyone pay their fair share and use these tax funds to the benefit of the nation as a whole-not just the lucky few. That is becoming harder and harder to do as the Rich and the Corporations buy the Government piece by piece.
We have an obligation to learn the true positions of the people we elect to manage the nation’s finances. We are not doing our duty as Americans if we fall for public relations campaigns and smoke and mirrors that hide a Candidate’s true agenda. That certainly happened in last year’s Congressional Elections….
So on tax day, don’t resent having to pay. Remember, death and taxes are the only two inevitabilities in life.
Just think about how you can best work to be sure everyone pays their fair share and our nations funds are used wisely.
And I know, that alone, is asking a hell of a lot…..