Monday, January 31, 2011


while there have long been people who don't think that they should have to pay taxes and who believe that there is too much government interference in the life of most americans, i am profoundly frustrated at the way that this sentiment is gaining popularity.

at least in part because of the continued presence of the teabaggers tea party in american political life, i keep reading about (and talking to) people who insist that "the government" meddles too much in their affairs and takes too much of their money.

recently i was talking to someone who had spent the last few years on unemployment, and whose spouse retired early from a federal job, receiving a substantial severance package. also, the federal retiree had always held the insurance for the entire family (they raised several children.) however, despite what seemed to me like several dramatic examples of interaction with the government being the only thing standing between them and total financial ruination, this person vehemently announced to me that the government had "no business" besides national defense, and expressed strong wishes toward a total cessation of all government activity not directly related to national defense.

and it has really gotten me thinking about this whole "no taxes, government bad" approach to policy. while few people actually enjoy paying taxes, rational grownups should be able to see that taxes are not, in fact, the result of a power-mad, bullying government stealing money from defenseless citizens, but actually a reasonable way to pay for things we want and need. markers of civilization, actually, which sounds hyperbolic at first but really isn't.

here's something that taxes pay for:
1. paved roads. i read a horrible article about a 23 year old woman in alabama who ran over a pothole and dislodged a chunk of highway that went through the windshield of the truck behind her and killed the woman in the front seat, who was riding with her husband and their two small children. no one was doing anything wrong; the first driver was cleared of any wrongdoing. she hadn't been speeding, she was driving safely, they road simply hadn't been maintained. the state says they can't afford it. now the first driver is wracked with guilt, and the husband is a widower, a single dad with two small kids. because there wasn't money for highway repairs.

so "tea party patriots," are you ready to volunteer your time for road crews? or should someone set up toll booths all over the place to fund roadwork? (followup question: should that be the government? or a private company collecting money? if a private company, will there be any oversight? how do you propose to supervise this effort without government involvement? does the mention of tolls constitute a "tax" that will get you all worked up?)

to be continued.


Snakebite said...

Now Tea Bagger road crews is something I might even pay money (not a lot) to see!

sarah said...

i'd have a lot more respect for their anti-everything stances if they would volunteer for road crews!

and wouldn't it be nice to ride on a bunch of newly-paved roads?

Anonymous said...

Exactly. My thoughts exactly.

Anonymous said...

The government has its greedy little hands in many pots which it shouldn't. Some taxes are necessary, but most only help line the pockets of all those government crooks, which is 99% of politicians. From the city level all the way to the state and federal levels of the US government there is total corruption. Zero honesty, only greed. Property and real estate tax is a prime example of the government stealing (or extorting) money from citizens. Why the hell should we have to pay hundreds, if not thousands a year for a home or property we already own? Because our government is entirely made up of criminals, as is our legal system. Sad but true.