Saturday, April 15, 2006
Happy Tax Day
I'm not being sarcastic. After reading Ruth Rosen's reminder of some of the things we get for our taxes, you should feel good (or at least better) about paying them, too.
I wake up and brush my teeth with water whose purity is inspected by government agencies. I pour some cereal and milk into a bowl. No creepy crawlers appear; both are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federally mandated labels on the cereal box and milk container, moreover, list the ingredients contained inside. I leave home and in the middle of the street intersection are city workers doing maintenance on the sewer system after California’s most recent ferocious winter storms. I get in my car, reassured that the smog device in my 20 year-old care recently passed the state's stringent test. On the way to the BART station, I look across the bay and see a breathtaking view of the San Francisco skyline and the Golden Gate Bridge. When I first arrived in California, some 30 years ago, before the state enacted stricter pollution controls, a brownish haze masked such magnificent vistas. As I drive, I slow down for city workers fixing potholes. I pass the public library where I often do research. I stop at lights and signs that regulate traffic and keep drivers from murdering all the kids walking to public schools. I park and walk to a Bay Area Rapit Transit subsway station, financed with public money. From the window of the train, I see cars locked in gridlock on an interstate freeway funded by the federal government. [more]Re-reading this essay, I realized just how much overlap there is between "the good things we get for our tax dollars" and "the good things we have because liberals created them". No wonder rightwingers hate taxes: they can't take the credit for the benefits of taxation.
People imagine that low taxes mean simple taxes. But Republicans have managed to complexify the tax code to the point that I can no longer understand what the accountant is doing. And, frankly, neither does he.
Under FDR and Truman, Federal income taxes were paid by the top 5 or 10%. We need to return to that.
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