I don’t understand a great deal when it comes to money. Especially taxes. And obviously I am not alone. Even Einstein once uttered that the hardest thing in the world to understand is income taxes.
With me, it’s just about all the taxes.
For instance, recently an entrepreneur friend of mine bought a piece of property in New Jersey. It was a two-acre lot in one of those gated communities. Then he went about building an oversized dream house for him and his wife and two kids.
After paying for all the permits and licenses and those ‘incidental fees’ to expedite matters, his taxes for that raw property suddenly shot up to over $14,000. Then less than three years later they were over $17,000.
Now he is not only paying the bank for mortgage and construction payments, he is paying thru his erstwhile brass balls, wallet and 12-hour work days, for improvements he made to the open land.
I don’t care that he obviously has the money to do it – unlike most of us who don’t have the money and can’t do it.
The question we must all ask ourselves is: Why are taxes for so many of us nothing more than a punishment for most of us?
Do we get good schools for our taxes?
Do we get clean air for our taxes?
Do we get our prisoners rehabilitated for our taxes?
Do we get good government for our taxes?
I need to drink more before I am sober enough to answer that.
We don’t even get a military to fight our ersatz wars. We have to hire Blackwater and a bunch of other mercenaries.
What are we getting for our money? Besides another day older and deeper in debt…
This is one of the reasons we should be thanking protest movements such as “Occupy” Wall Street and Philadelphia and in all the other 900 cities in 85 countries. They have helped define what should not only be our political conversations, but our dinner and coffee house discussions – more than just some over consuming debate about our overpaid mercenary football or basketball teams.
We don’t have representatives in Washington or Harrisburg or Philadelphia looking after our best interests; they are concerned mainly with their own best interests.
This is my city, my state, my country and I want it back. Just as war is much too important to be left up to the generals, politics is much too personal to be left up to mostly cheating, lying and pillaging career politicians.
So what should we do?
We should stop paying our taxes until we are absolutely certain of what we’re going to get for our money. Isn’t that the way we buy just about everything in this country? As my old fraternity housemother used to tell us: You don’t buy a horse before you ride it.
Hmm… I think she was speaking about her husbands. But no matter.
Things don’t have to be the way they have been, just because they have been that way.
In case you haven’t noticed, folks are up in arms in Russia because Putin and his oligarchy cabal have simply stolen more than they’re supposed to. Same with the Arab Spring. Even China has more than a few unhappy residents.
It’s happening all over the world. And what is happening is not simply because people want change. What they want is simply what they are supposedly paying for with much more than their spare change.
Education. Transportation. A limited militarized cohabitation.
Throw in a little affordable healthcare and some justice unencumbered by venal, vapid attorneys and you got yourself a government operating for duh people, by duh people and of duh people. Call it a mission statement for good government.
Gee…. That doesn’t sound so complicated, now does it?
In truth, life really isn’t all that complicated. When certain people make it more encumbered than it need be, check the small print because they’re often, like insurance policies, trying to screw you out of something. Usually more of what you have less and less of – expendable capital.
When you buy something, you should get what you pay for. You shouldn’t have to be blamed: buyer beware. You shouldn’t need to buy a warranty because the product may not perform as the salesman has readily sworn on the grave of his virgin mother.
The descent into hell is in tiny steps. And we quantum leaped a whole lot of steps from the days when we got sold a horse with a lame foot to the days when Bush sold us a lame war with Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Among other things.
Which brings us back to taxes. And getting what we pay for. And getting our representatives to do what we elect them for. And getting something for our money besides gas bills so ghastly high for a measly two-story row house you must be heating hell so it don’t freeze over.
The government ain’t working. It wasn’t just ‘W’ Bush that bankrupted us fiscally and morally. He learned on the bended knee from his “Uncle” Reagan. But it was Bush who was the most egregious.
So now what are we going to do about it?
I don’t care what our tax structure should be – flat tax, sales tax, income tax. Or, as Warren Buffet stipulated, a tax-the-rich-more-tax.
Whatever it is, it should be simple and stupid enough even for my last ex-wife to understand – that is when she understands that she now has to pay taxes.
It should also easy enough for all of us so we don’t have to be the one country that pays to pay our income taxes — with someone like an H&R Block — because we don’t understand all those loopholes that we aren’t eligible for anyway. Which makes us want to cheat like the rich guys even more.
Hey, it’s no secret that income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf. But we’re not (yet) like most of Italy – cheating on our taxes isn’t a national past time.
Most of us would feel quite patriotic about paying up if we only felt we were getting something for it – that is, besides pregnant or some other sexually transmitted disease.
Look, we come into the world with nothing and when we leave we have nothing. And in between there’s a lot of stoopid people robbing, pillaging, stealing and misspending our tax dollars.
And boy, do I feel stoopid.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony.