Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hope & Taxes

Paying your taxes is an act of hope.

No seriously. I realize it is a legally prosecutable obligation, and therefore an act of avoiding steep penalties and public embarrassment at any future confirmation hearings.

But in spite of the uproar over the GOP's "Tax Day Tea Parties," we do have constitutionally elected representation for the first time in almost a decade. Well, the representation is at half strength in Minnesota (thanks Norm), but it is representation nonetheless.

Each year, Joe and I pay our taxes with a little nod to the Pell Grants that got us through college and a great deal of hope for the future of our country; hope for better public transit, a protected environment, and responsive emergency services at the very least.

Now, with two little girls, we are depending on the current administration to improve the nature of health care, public education, higher education, and, of course, win the pirate war.

I spent the morning wistfully listening to the bird songs outside while busily entertaining my sick girls. We spent a good deal of time at the kitchen sink, inspired by the egg-dying last week to mix colors in different cups. It was like magic...

Blue plus yellow? Green!

Red plus yellow? Orange!

Blue plus yellow plus green plus red plus orange? Drinkable! ... Oh wait...

I'm running a preschool for them constantly, and I don't want these gains to be lost when they start public school in a year or two (yikes!). So I pay my taxes... I stay informed... and I hope.

I do have some compassion for the disenfranchised GOP. I was much less hopeful paying taxes under the Bush administration. I still had hope... and, yes Bidden, a sense of patriotic duty. But it was anemic. The expectations were low (and consistently unmet).

Today though, the expectations are high, and the potential for a spike in my cynicism and a sharp turn to the libertarian party a few years down the road is real.

But for now we hope... We work, in our varied ways... We earn... We pay our taxes...

It sounds like my sentiments are in line with most Americans, according to Joan Walsh's post on today:

Just in time for this day of massive protest, Gallup released a poll showing that 61 percent of Americans believe the income taxes they paid this year are "fair," and more Americans now say the amount they pay is "just right" than "too high" -- one of the most pro-tax outcomes since Gallup began polling on this question in 1956. Great timing, Tea Partiers! Way to have your fingers on the nation's pulse.


HausFrau said...

Hi! I just found your blog. I love it! Your kids are cute. I like your chickens, too. Do you live in town, and how big is your lot? I'm keeping an open mind towards chicken-keeping (although my husband would have an aneurism if I got some), and I was just wondering what works for you.

Bonnie said...

I must say...I'm not sure the huge, HUGE tax payment I just made was fair!!! But you give me hope that it will go to good things! I'm for the Wheaton Sewer System! MOM

TheOrganicSister said...

From my understanding, the tea party was not necessarily a GOP thing (in the neo-con sense of the word), more a Libertarian thing and a protest of the *income tax* which is wholly unconstitional and pys for *zero* of our schools, roads, libraries etc (those are all paid for from our state and local taxes). Our income tax pays for our debt, our irresponsible spending, our wars. If we just cut back to the spending we had in '00 we could do away with income tax - which I believe is what instigates the "taxation without respresentation" complaints since it's not representing us or paying for our amenities or needs and we have no say in how it is spent.

I have little hope it will get better. Right now we're robbing Peter to pay Paul, except this time Peter is my son and Paul is some guy in another country charging us interest on our loans. It's like paying one credit card with another; you can keep shifting the debt around but eventually the bill will come due. It's what got our economy in this predicament in the first place.

lol Sorry to start on my soapbox. Can you tell I'm a Libertarian? ;)

I really stopped by to say thanks for commenting on my blog. :) And I *love* this layout.


Anonymous said...

Yeah.... I'm with you Sarah. I'm happy to pay my taxes, despite my meager income. In fact, I long for the days before T-Paw when Minnesota had more progressive taxes and our education system and roadways were so much better than they are now. If your other commenters want to talk about robbing the next generation by incurring such huge national debt - although I don't disagree with that - aren't we also robbing the next generation by having a crumbling education system, and oh yeah, no universal health care?

And, to clarify, federal income tax also pays for social security, health care, some unemployment insurance, housing assistance, and some public health programs - all things I can happily endorse. In fact, pretty much the only major chunk of federal income tax that I disagree with is that giant wad of defense spending.... and frankly, I even endorse a portion of that.


Sarah said...

Oh, I'm a recovering Randian Objectivist, so I definitely hear the arguments of the libertarians. And to be fair, it seems that the GOP/Fox News crowd appropriated the Tea Party idea and turned into their own press opp.

I just no longer believe our society would be a very effective one without the social safety nets that help people overcome their circumstances. And the income tax is the most progressive way to accomplish that. (whoa, I know, should progressivity be a value in the tax system... it's inflammatory in mixed company and volumes of economic texts support both sides of the argument here, so I'm letting it drop...)

One more thing, though... In spite of our federalist system, the tax systems tumble all over one another.

Federal dollars do go to roads and bridges and all sorts of other local projects, not only under the stimulus but also to give states incentive to adopt national policies like a 21 year old drinking age. In other cases, Federal dollars are funneled to local programs to support innovative reform models... or in other cases to support systems under duress as they try to reform....

You're right, enough ranting. Today, a cute kid post!

The Rooster said...

Nice arguments all long as some federal money is going to fight the "pirate war", I'll happily pay my taxes.


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