Thinking About Taxes

July 08, 2011

Let’s get one thing straight: I would love to have public school teachers, fire departments, police departments, national defense, research, healthcare, social security, prisons, public parks, long-term care for seniors, my retirement and a host of other things that everyone reading this relies on without having to pay for it. I want to spend my money on some nice suits for court, my wife and kids, great vacations, my pet charities and, well, whatever I want.

But is there anyone out there who really believes that if we all spend our money on whatever we want, we will automatically have public school teachers, fire departments, police departments, national defense, research, healthcare, social security, prisons, public parks, long-term care for seniors, my retirement and a host of other things that everyone reading this relies on?  If you have a brain in your head, I think not. The notion is ludicrous.

Assume a United States without taxes.  What do you think would happen?  Those with money will start reprioritizing how to spend it, along the lines of “Gee, I’ll pay a company to pick up my garbage; I’ll help support a fire and police department to protect me and my house and possessions; I’ll pitch in some dollars for a militia to help protect our borders; I’ll pay to send my kids to private school or for a private tutor so my kids are educated; and of course I’ll pay for my healthcare and that of my family, but with no more Social Security,  I damn well better save a good chunk of my money for when I retire and have nothing more coming in. After all these expenses, of course, then I can spend whatever is left on what I want for my own amusement.”

In other words, whether or not there are taxes, people cannot get around paying large portions of their income for teachers, fire departments, police departments, national defense, research, healthcare, retirement, prisons, public parks, long-term care for their old age, retirement and a host of other things that everyone reading this relies on, or will at some point.

So, for people who can afford it, what is the difference between paying for essential services, healthcare and retirement out of necessity or through the vehicle called taxes?

I see two.  First, if only people who can afford it buy for themselves what are now government services, everyone else will be left to fend for themselves, kill and steal from each other, live destitute, hungry, homeless and lawless, perhaps take to the streets eventually (sounds logical to me), and those with money will have to hire armed guards for themselves (something we don’t need under our traditional tax structure).  We will either become at war with one another (that darn Second Amendment again)  or experience another type of Chinese Cultural Revolution where doctors, lawyers and educated people are ousted from their homes, killed or sent to prison camps, while those who had nothing say “you had your day and you treated me like dirt; it’s mine now.”

The second difference is the obvious but disturbing viewpoint of those who don’t want to pay taxes to help pay for others. Putting aside the fact that taxes paid by everyone today reduce service costs through economies of scale (meaning that, without taxes, those who can afford the services, as few as they are in relative numbers, will have to pay more out of their own pockets for the same or lesser level than they receive now), those who claim to want to “cut government spending and eliminate taxes” should be called out for what they are: selfish people who just don’t care about their family of fellow Americans. Everything should be for them; everyone else be damned. Gee, a Cultural Revolution starts to make sense.

In my view, the spending and tax-cutting zealots are, in the end, un-Patriotic and lack what I once understood to be American values of compassion for fellow man and woman.  They will pay for what they want and leave everyone else to fend for themselves, even though, by paying for what they want, they will be paying for the same services that taxes provide them today! Only, under their grand plan, they will get the benefit and who cares about anyone else?  I can’t think of a point of view that is much more un-American.

One last point on this subject.  This really fries me.  The Tea Party?  There is no such thing as the Tea Party.  The media has given a voice to a mythological creation, as if it is a legitimate, independent force. It’s time to wake up and realize that the “Tea Party,” such as it is, is an invention foisted by large multi-national corporations who, lo and behold, don’t want to pay taxes. Anyone who lends any kind of legitimacy to this group is selling you something, and it isn’t good for you.  It may be good for them for now, but it isn’t good for you.


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