Tax Day Today!

April 15, 2008

Just got mine done last night. My wife loves this day. She loves seeing how much we are getting back like we just won the lottery. It is pretty nice getting that goverment check, especially if you make the kind of money that Bill Gates does.

The Bush tax cuts provide extremely wealthy families with vast benefits. The richest one
percent of families will get an average tax cut of $92,000 in 2010, including cuts in income and estate taxes. The average income for families in the top one percent will be $1.6 million in 2010, and yet, the President and his allies in Congress have showered the most generous tax cuts on these fortunate families (Citizens for Tax Justice: pdf document)

So why aren’t we breaking out the torches and pitchforks? It’s the big lie. The big lie goes something like this: The government is stealing your money and giving it away to other people and you know how to spend your money better.

The short answer to this idiocy is that taxes are the cost of living in a civil society. The long answer is that you drive on roads, use water out of the tap, use safe, dependable electricity, cross bridges on the highway, and play with your kids in the public park. These things cost money to build and maintain. When you have to pay that bill (or have that money withheld from your paycheck like most of us) you are paying for your use of those services. I love Thom Hartmann’s analogy. Let’s say you walk into a convenience store. You see that they have candy bars for a dollar. You have an extra dollar in your pocket and are hungry so you grab a candy bar. Unfortunately, in line in front of you is one of these folks that like to show up in the middle of lunch hour and buy $50 worth of scratch tickets and the line is taking forever, so you crack open the candy bar and start munching.

At the point you open the wrapper, the dollar in your pocket is no longer yours. You didn’t sign a contract, but that dollar now belongs to the store. Imagine going to the cash register with the half-eaten Snickers in your hand and then accusing the clerk of theft when they try to ring up the candy bar. If you have a minute, check out A Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican.

The Bushies (and John McCain is on that list) also like to say that if these irresponsible tax breaks are not ¬†made permanent, middle class Americans will pay an average of $1,800 more in taxes. True enough as far as that goes. But that’s like saying that if Bill Gates was to walk into a homeless shelter where two nuns are feeding 14 homeless guys, they have an average income of $10 million a year. It’s true, but doesn’t change the fact that it’s 14 dudes who have nothing but the shirts on their backs, two nuns who have taken a vow of poverty, and Bill Gates.

There is a class war going on with our tax policy. I think it’s about time we started participating in our side of it.

Bread, peace, and freedom.