Taxation With Representation

Tea Bagger Douches

DOWN WITH TAXES! UP WITH SPENDING! - No one likes to pay taxes, but we all must. There is no free lunch, there's a tax on it.

There’s an old saying that goes, “nothing is inevitable except death and taxes.” To be more correct, it should probably go, “nothing is inevitable except death, taxes, and bitching endlessly about  them”.

Despite Joe Biden’s notion that paying taxes is “patriotic”, I don’t personally know anyone who wants to pay them – left, right, patriotic, unpatriotic, rich or poor. Of course, I don’t know many people who want to die either so wishing something were true doesn’t change much.

To hear some tell it, taxes used to be high because of phantom welfare queens cruising the streets of the inner city in gold-plated Cadillacs filled to the roof with food stamps and kids. End the waste and fraud was the clarion cry of tax complainers back then.

At the close of the Cold War taxpayers expected a huge peace dividend based on a token military in which waste and fraud were a thing of the past.  How’d the aircraft carriers USS Ronald Reagan and George Bush work out for you?

Less in, More Out? Wassup With That?
Then came the notion that cutting taxes – i.e. money coming in – was the best way to make more money going out – about as counter-intuitive notion as up is down and down is up.

Today, tax protesters just bitch that government should be a hollow shell from which the only service it provides is a shoe-string national defense apparently funded without taxes. They do this after driving on a federally-funded freeways to attend Town Screed Hall meetings in public schools built at least in part by Federal tax dollars and protected by tax-funded police who will dutifully kick anyone out who dares speak up against the mob.

By their nature, taxes are unfair. Many people jump aboard the tax-the-rich bandwagon provided they aren’t classified rich and the money goes to something they want. Others say tax the poor more, oblivious to the fact that when one has no money you can’t collect much tax.

Besides, isn’t giving the poor more in refunds than they paid in taxes sort of trickle up economics? Doesn’t the theory hold true that if rich people’s money floats all yachts, doesn’t poor people’s money lift all leaky rowboats?

Of all the contentious debates in this country, taxation is perhaps the most disingenuous. Everyone rails that tax cuts solve all unless the proposed cuts are something you like or benefit from. Even if health care had never passed, the Bush tax cuts were repealed, and spending was cut to equal the national budget of Paraguay, we’d still be hard pressed to pay the debt.

Taxation With Representation
US taxes are about average compared to other industrialized nations. The difference is that electorates in those countries have a clearer understanding of what they want government to do and pony up the money to pay for it with less grumbling. In return, they get actual services they want at somewhat reasonable costs. In this country we look at the tax and spend dilemma through glasses provided by whatever advocacy group is best-funded and yells the loudest without much thought to whether we need it or what it costs – Exhibit A, California.

The next time you call a talk radio show, wave your “taxation without representation” sign at the door of your elected representative, or drive on an Interstate highway, remember that taxes are necessary evils levied for the common good. Remember that there isn’t a single paycheck in this country that is untouched by government spending. Without taxes, there is no defense of the nation. There is no TSA to make you remove your shoes because you’re afraid of an amateur videographer in a Pakistani cave. Your kids will have no school. The ambulance won’t take you to a hospital for treatment you can’t get because you lack insurance. You’ll work in a bakery making $12 a loaf bread because you don’t subsidize wheat farmers flooded off their farms by the spring thaw followed by a drought caused by global warming you deny.

Trying to find cheaper and better ways of doing things is great, but be realistic about what that means. Complaining does no one any good. There are no free lunches.

That’s because there’s tax on the meal.

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