Friday, April 09, 2010

Our Taxes

Our Taxes
9 April 2010
Malmstrom AFB, Montana

In response to Lori Harfenist’s Happy Tax Freedom Day video.

REALLY. Not one person knows where their taxes go. Wow.
Have you driven on a paved road today?
Did you go to or take your child(ren) to a public school today?
Do you get your water from a non-well source?
Did you flush some bullshit down the toilet today that didn't go into a septic tank?
Did you see a fire truck today? A police car?
Know anyone who has served in the military?
Did you use GPS today (developed and maintained by the U.S. Air Force).
Did you manage not to get sick from eating from one of thousands of providers, whether restaurant or store bought? (food handling and preparation standards)
Go to a park recently?
Blah blah blah blah.

It really does seem the vast majority of people in the U.S. don’t know where their taxes go. Yes, you can’t really know where every penny goes, but it’s not hard to know where it is generally spent.
There are endless examples of where our taxes go. I don't mind paying taxes because I know where they go and what they provide to me. Now I do not like my, and others, money being wasted. I do not mean from a program I don't use or one I think is silly because I understand others may really need it or really benefit from it and that I try not to be a greedy bastard. 

We need to think of taxes as our collective pool of resources to better our national community—particularly since we don’t MAKE SHIT IN THIS COUNTRY ANYMORE!!! They aren't a bad thing. I'm a simple person—for the most part—that grew up in the South in a very conservative, religious, working-class family. I've served close to a decade in the military—well if that doesn't make one feel old now. From living in many different places all over the world, I understand how and why some people feel differently about taxes, government and things they don't have firsthand experience with. I understand why it's hard for a person from a small town in a large state with a small population to get this big picture. Hell, I'm not that social of a person in many regards, but dang it, I believe we all need to look out for each other—and I'm not even a religious person anymore! It kills me when I see all these white, conservative (politically speaking that is), religious people going all teabag crazy. Sounds like someone needs to try not to selectively listen and read at church. If you're going to call yourself a Christian, you best FULLY live it. And from what I remember from the bible, Jesus was quite the socialist (and not the kind some like to group under the Nazi flag, but the more basic tribal type and that are used widely around the developed world). Yeah, think about it before you get all defensive or dismiss me Christians.

As for what to tax, on a federal level I feel to be fair we need to tax everything equally or nothing at all. I really think just an income tax should be all there is on a federal level. Fairest is a flat rate—in thought—but if you make $10,000 in a year, that $1,000 makes a big difference. If you make $1,000,000, that $100,000 is a lot of money, but the remaining $900,000 goes a LOOONG way. With great power—in our society that means money—comes great responsibility (actually, maybe I’m wrong, but I recall the bible saying something along the lines as “to whom much is given, much will be expected”). As for taxing things like goods and services, that can be set by the needs of states and municipalities. With a country of our size and diversity, we need to be flexible to local needs. Plus, this allows people to live in areas that are run in ways they feel meet their ideals. We need to streamline our government and make sure it runs efficiently and with integrity, on ALL levels. I think before people start bitching at the federal government, they best make sure their local and state governments are run well first—then go after D.C. 

I know these thoughts are noble and may be pie in the sky—mmmm, pie—but that doesn’t mean we should give up on them or just ignore the topics that need our attention as citizens of this country. Education first and don’t be an armchair politician.

*A later thought*
Oh, and another way to look at it is like dues for an organization, just with a sliding like many military organizations and events do based on rank (which means pay scale). So you military people should understand it more. Funny how everyone I've ever seen in these circumstances always thought it was a great idea and gladly paid what the could more easily afford.
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