Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raising Taxes

I just saw a social media comment (you know how it goes on the blue-bordered social media site ~ someone wrote something, and then their 'friend', who has a different opinion, wrote a comment expressing their opinion) indicating that they don't want their taxes raised by asking the rhetorical question, "Do you want your taxes raised?"

Of course, if we heard it as an actual question, rather than one written to make a point, I believe that the typical and natural response would be "obviously not".

See, by and large, we're greedy.  Once we have possession of something, especially something valuable, we tend to want to keep it.  In this case, we tend to want to keep our money, because it's valuable.  With money, we can buy things we want.

My response to the question "Do you want your taxes raised?", though is almost always "Yes, of course".

Don't get me wrong ~ I'm just as greedy as the next person.  When I have money, I want to keep possession of it so that I can buy things that I want.  It's just that in this case, that's exactly what my taxes do.  With my taxes, I buy things I want.  For instance:

The Police and Fire Departments
The Military
Street Repair
Urban Sewer Systems
Student Loan Interest Relief
Food Safety
Public Libraries
Public Education
Parks and Recreation Centers
National Parks and Monuments
The Government

In short, my taxes buy civilization.  If we didn't pay taxes, we'd be much worse off.  Since I like civilization, I want civilization to continue, and so I'm happy to pay for it. 

Of course, we could argue forever about whether tax dollars are spent wisely or not ~ which would be a good conversation.  I, for one, would consider spending much less on the military.  Or, maybe I'd spend just as much, but would spend less on fighting wars and more on salaries for enlisted troops.

I'd spend more on public libraries, more on parks and rec, more on student loan interest relief, and much more on public education. 

But, how we spend tax dollars and how much are we required to pay in taxes are separate (albeit related) questions.

So, to say that we pay too much in taxes is to imply that the government is able to undertake all of the projects that are beneficial to the public welfare without any financial constraints.  And, given the truth that for two years in a row the public education budget in Colorado shrank while enrollment increased reminds us of the problems with this claim.

Some people (motivated by greed) want to pay less in taxes so that they can purchase more things that they want.  I (also motivated by greed) want to pay more in taxes because I'd like civilization, and would like to continue to purchase.


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