April 12, 2010
The Tax Man Cometh
I pity anyone born on April 15th. It’s probably worse than being born on April 1st (April Fools Day), December 7th (Pearl Harbor Day), September 11th, or even February 29th. The day simply has an evil connotation – it’s the day we all have to ‘settle up’ with Uncle Sam, and that day of reckoning seems to become more and more ominous each year.
I finished up my taxes last week, as I just couldn’t bear them hanging over my head any longer. Since I’m one of the lucky ones that always seems to be sending money to the Treasury rather than getting some of my hard-earned money back, I wait and wait (and wait some more) before cutting that horrific check.
I know, I know – I should be happy to live in the greatest country in the world and readily pay my fair share. But there are two things wrong with that statement. First, can we really boast to be the greatest country in the world anymore? Does any other industrialized country carry the kind of debt load we do? I don’t know the answer, but I know our federal debt and annual deficits are simply unsustainable – when (and where) does the buck stop?
Secondly, is what I pay ‘fair’? I have often said that state and federal budgets should be allocated similar to United Way donations: Give each taxpayer a list of government agencies, and let us decide how our taxes are allocated. For me, I’m glad to support national defense that ensures any wars are fought on foreign soil. I travel quite a bit, so I would earmark some of my taxes for the Department of Transportation, keeping my roads in good shape so I can get around. I enjoy the outdoors, so I will also gladly support the Department of Agriculture (keeping my national forests maintained) and the Department of the Interior, who is in charge of the national parks. Additionally, I can’t forget the police departments and justice system for keeping us safe from the bad guys.
Other than that, I don’t really need anything else the government has to offer. Health and Human Services? Puh-lease. 435 Congressmen and 100 Senators? Dump ‘em all – serving the American public hasn’t been on their agenda for years. Department of Education? I guess I’d be OK with that one if they weren’t so lenient on teachers that have no business being in the classroom. (and yes, there are A LOT of horrible teachers – just ask the good ones in any school – you know, the ones who show genuine interest in your kids)
The state of Washington is now planning a series of tax increases to try and balance its budget. Sneaky little things like increased Business & Occupation Tax (which directly affects my business), taxes on carbonated beverages (seriously), and even more taxes on beer. (NOOOOOOO!!!!!!) Rather than tax everything we consume, here’s my proposal: Whenever there is a weather emergency, all “non-essential” government employees are told to stay home. NON-ESSENTIAL – that is the government’s term, not mine. The obvious question – if we have so many non-essential employees, why do we have them at all?
Seems to me we could cut spending by billions and billions of dollars by taking this approach. That way, things might not seem so bleak when April 15th rolls around each year. Of course, the current administration is piling on more and more debt by the trillions. Sorry, boys, but even if I gave you every penny I earn, we’re NEVER going to be able to pay that back. Stop the madness, stop the spending, and stop reaching for my wallet!
Make it a great week.
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