Monday, November 19, 2012

Taxes are good!

For what seems like forever, the Republicans have put the word "taxes" in an extremely negative frame.  The Tea Party took it even farther.  And most recent Republican candidates signed Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes or implement new ones.  The GOP has, for decades, been associated with the anti-tax agenda.

Do I love paying taxes?  No ... but I'm putting myself in the same box as Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. who wrote in the 1927 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue:

"Taxes are what we pay for civilized society …"  

Ah ... just what does that mean?  Let's take a look ...

Many government programs or activities work very effectively to solve society's problems.  And let's face it ... the government is the only way to make sure this country promotes our values such as justice.  So, the taxes needed to support those programs should be seen as a positive.  To put it another way, you can’t support the things the government does – like caring for the elderly, establishing justice, providing public education, fighting terrorism, and protecting the environment – and still maintain that the taxes that support those things are bad!

To be specific, here are just a few of the things our taxes support:

National security
National defense
Public education
Court system
Purification of air and water
Natural disasters

Okay ... just which of those do you want to give up?  Huh?  Do you want all of those programs - or even some of them - privatized?  Then be prepared to pay a LOT more for your individual subscription!

As linguist George Lakoff explains in “Progressive Frame for Taxes” (Rockridge Institute, August 25, 2006):  "Taxes are our dues — we pay our dues to be Americans and enjoy the benefits of American society. Taxes are what we pay to live in a civilized society that is democratic, offers opportunity, and has a huge infrastructure available to all citizens. This incredible infrastructure has been paid for by previous taxpayers. Roads and highways, the Internet, the broadcast airwaves, our public education system, our power grid — every day we all use this vast infrastructure. Our dues maintain it."

So ... quit your bitching!  Everyone needs to pay their fair share and that includes the wealthy and corporations.  American citizens pay less taxes than many people in other industrialized nations.  And we get more bang for our buck, too.

The next time a Republican calls "taxes" a dirty word, ask him what he wants to give up.  Then watch him squirm.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Maryann!!!
    I don't LIKE paying taxes either, but see it as a social responsibility, personally and collectively. As a public school teacher in California, I see what's happening to our education system with severely decreased funding, not to mention everything else on the list. We need to "pay it forward" - for ourselves and "our posterity". Thanks for posting!