Today, one of my Conservative friends shared a meme complaining about taxes: about how our wages are taxes, how there’s sales tax, how there’s income tax, how there’s property tax, and so on. I responded and corrected all the factual errors in their post (such as thinking the Federal or State taxes in your paycheck are taxes, when they are really downpayments so you don’t have to write as large of a check when you do your Income Taxes, or how Social Security or Medicare taxes are payments on insurance policies, not really taxes). But it got me thinking about taxes, and the folks that complain about them.
I don’t mind paying my taxes. Sure, I wish they were lower, but they are part of the price I pay for living in society. Taxes pay for the roads I drive on, and the police that keep them safe. They pay for the fire fighters that help me if my house catches on fire; they pay for the emergency responds that help in an earthquake. They pay for the schools and the city infrastructure. They pay for public health services that keep everyone healthy (as the recent Coronavirus outbreak is showing). They pay for the armed forces that keep our nation safe, and they take care of all those forces who have done so much for this country. They help our farmers grow more crops, and help them through hard times. They help our seniors and the poorest citizens — they are doing good that I can’t do individually. They help us provide courts of justice. They help us provide standards for cybersecurity, and to make our systems safer. They provide weights and measures. They help monitor and grow the economy. They support housing and education for all. At least for now, they help keep our water and air clean. They support our wonderful national parks. They help guard our coasts and borders, and (of course) they fund our lighthouses and protect shipping.
These are all things that my taxes pay for, and I have no problem with that.
There are things that my taxes go for that I do have problems with — and I’m surprised the Conservatives seem OK with their taxes going for that. Under this President, my taxes go to line his personal pockets and fortunes, through trips to his commercial enterprises with those protecting him paying above market rates. I object to that. My taxes go to give tax breaks to corporations that could easily afford to pay the higher taxes — and who should, for they benefit from everything I listed above. Similarly, they give breaks to those who have more than sufficient wealth and don’t need (and often don’t want) the breaks. As such, they serve to increase the deficit. A gigantic deficit means, of course, that my taxes are going to pay interest and line people’s pockets. Although a small level of debt is good; growing the debt as we have is wrong. So I object to the games that result in more of my taxes going to interest payments.
But in general: I’m glad to live in the society that we do, and I don’t mind paying taxes to have that society. I just wish we could do more.