Good -vs- Taxes

I present a new dualism. Instead of Good versus Evil, I give you Good versus Taxes. It’ not that I want to construct this dualism and foist it upon the American public. Rather, this seems to be the dualism that Americans are already operating out of. During this campaign season I have heard politicians present themselves as persons who will take a stand against taxes, as if they were some kind of civil rights crusader. These campaigns present taxes as if it were in the same category as racism, poverty, violence, misogyny, or any kind of social injustice. This move to frame taxes in this way seems to undermine one of the key philosophical tenets under girding American culture: the Social Contract. The basic idea that I am referring to is that we as members of a society agree to give up the absolute freedom of living unto ourselves in order to secure the benefits of living in a society. Of course, living in a society has its own set of problems, but very few would deny that the benefits outweigh the problems. Moreover, most people understand that many of the benefits of society require money, and that even those things that we enjoy in society that don’t directly require public funds rely upon infrastructure in order for them to come into being or be disseminated for others to enjoy. This being the case, why are taxes such a political hot button, a kind of strawman pariah that politicians use to establish themselves as good by taking a stand against them? I understand that people get sick of government glut and inefficiency, but the problem in this case is not in paying taxes, but rather mismanagement of the money raised through taxes. In saying this I realize that good management would get us more for our dollar, but this kind of presentation is not what I am generally seeing in campaigns. Again, what I am seeing is something like a dualism between Good and Taxes.

3 Responses to “Good -vs- Taxes”

  1. Chris "Lefty" Brown  

    I think part of it is that people think it’s equivalent to stealing from them. I know if I had the ability, I’d rather choose to have my tax dollars spent on things unrealted to the military industrial complex but rather on social programs and items to improve our community (roads, safe water, blah, blah, blah).

    If only there was a way to make sure that all the potholes and lack of teachers, police, and the like only happen to the ones who complain th emost about having to pay taxes.

    (Oh, what’s your email? I’ve been meaning to email you to ask if you wanted to go to Yosemite or Kings Canyon on Saturday. Guess I could call you too)

  2. Anthony Velez  

    Picking up on what you said about not wanting your money to go to the military industrial complex, here is an idea. How about we revise the tax process so that when we pay, we designate where we would like the money to go. The scenario would be something like this, “Let me double check your order Mr. Brown. You have a cheesburger, a large fry and a large soda. How would you like your taxes on that spent?” “Yes that is correct, but please make sure that the soad is Dr. Pepper, and please designate my taxes for repairs on Fresno County roads.”

  3. Simon  

    I was about to suggest a ‘tax-vote’ program. Maybe a little check box list when you return federal or state taxes. Maybe a list. “Thanks for investing in the future. Tell us where you would like to see your money go.” might be the spin. That way there is no promise, but a publicly available poll of where people would like to see their money go. Such information might give the powers that be an idea on how people feel on a national and local level.

    I’m in favor of ‘premium lifestyle choice taxation.’ For example for people who want to buy SUV’s and the such, big ol taxes to enable the rich to continue being ass holes while encouraging them to maybe think about how they don’t want to become poor by doing so.

    I’m also pleased to see the UK government finally do something I have been suggesting for years (though I am quite sure they didn’t get it from me). Next year we’ll be paying something like a 500% duty on ‘old’ conventional light bulbs. Whereas eco-friendly low energy bulbs will have tax removed (for a while).

    I think people need to change the way they feel about taxation and this can only be helped if governments and politicians stop referring to it as if it were legalized bureaucratic robbery.