notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Happily Taxed

No one likes to pay taxes.

Holy cow, my husband and I say a lot worse that “holy cow” every Spring. And now of course, it’s nearly summer and that can mean only one thing – semi-annual property tax time. Our local government likes to make me cry not once, but twice, a year.

But I don’t really cry a lot.

There are many people like me. I don’t mean folks that are honest and hard-working, and yet don’t complain too much about giving the government a portion of their money…. I don’t mean those folks because the word “many” doesn’t quite describe us. I think “hundreds of millions” might be closer.

I was referring to people like me that don’t have any children. Some of us childless people can get overwrought (a kind word) about paying their local taxes when most of the money goes to support the schools. Why don’t they tax people who have kids in the school system? they ask. The more kids, the more you should pay. If you don’t use the school, you should be exempt.

I strongly (also a kind word) disagree. The public school system only works if we all chip in. And saying that I don’t use the school is completely short-sighted. Of course I use the school. I need kids to get an education. I’m old now, and in 20 years I will be very old. The kids in school now will be making decisions about the world – and so my life – when I am really old. I need them to make smart and ethical decisions. I need them to know something.

And you could make the same argument about roads and other infrastructure maintenance. I know some people who are proponents of increasing toll roads. Why should you pay for a road unless you use it? they ask. Well, everytime I think I have never used a certain road, I wonder if maybe the truck that delivered my potato chips used that road. Then I know I need to help keep that road in good repair.

Last Fall, I was walking with friends along the beach in Hammonasset State Park, a state beach in Madison Connecticut. (This beach plays a prominent role in my next book, by the way… I can’t wait to share it with you.) But anyway, on this particular day, a friend walking with us pointed out the new Nature Center that the State of Connecticut recently built.

“Look at that big building. Totally unnecessary. A waste of money. That’s where your tax dollars went.”

I regarded the building, looking so nice in the autumn sun. I said, “Well, I guess if the State is going to waste money, I’m glad they wasted it on a nice science center that everyone can enjoy.”

So yes, I know that the government wastes a lot of money. But since I can’t sort it all out myself, I like to concentrate on the nice stuff they spend money on.

If you look at your cell phone bill, for example, you will see lots of different taxes. Most of them aren’t direct taxes – they are the service providers attempt to recoup the taxes they pay. They could build them into the rate, but they’d rather add them separately, so you can complain about the government and not them. One of those taxes you may see is the “Federal Universal Service Fund.” This is a surcharge that helps keep local phone service affordable in rural areas, and also provides discounts to schools and libraries. Well, that’s ok by me.

I don’t mind chipping in to help other people.

The big controversy right now in front of Congress is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – what used to be called Food Stamps. The US Government spends about $75 billion annually on SNAP. This sounds enormous but it is 2% of the budget. It helps about 45 million people a year – half of which are seniors, children, and disabled people. Many politicians want to cut this program dramatically – a 25% cut.

I am not being political here. I am just saying that I don’t mind that some of my tax dollars go to help people buy food. There’s a lot worse stuff the government could (and does) spend my money on.

Are there some people who cheat and don’t deserve the SNAP money they get?

Well, of course there are.

But since I can’t find the cheaters myself, I don’t want to hurt the many millions of people who need financial assistance to eat.

And how do I justify that my tax dollars may fund a few people who are gaming the system? 

Here’s how:

I know I wouldn’t want to change places with them.

 

 

taxes

35 Comments

  1. Without public education many kids would have to suffer a life without hope of careers and opportunities. People complain about taxes but you know I am of the opinion we all need to pay our share to keep our communities running and to keep us safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think public education is one of the cornerstones of modern civilization. Who knows which child will save us?

      Liked by 3 people

  2. This post is awesome.💗 It is a reminder that society has a responsibility towards all its citizens. After all we subsidize generously to our elected government members and families in their expensive travels and living expenses through our taxes. Before looking to cut from the people who need it the most, we should start with the public servants who are supposed to represent us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post. Especially since I was just talking about how I am a single mother of two who’s soon to be ex husband is thousands of dollars behind on child support. I don’t make even $20,000 per year and they cut my food stamps completely. I get nothing now. I rely on local food pantries when I’m in a pinch.

    Like

    • i can only hope that some of my tax dollars can help you and your family, and families like yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. YES! We all benefit from pooling our resources for our present and our future. Well said, Nancy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And folks are helping me too… I’m on Medicare and Social Security now. And roads and bridges and streetlights and the state police.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! My father loved to say that the three civilizers of a society were: the police department, the education system, and the shot glass. (He hated when people poured liquor straight from the bottle into a glass.)

    Like

    • That’s a cool trio. I like to the public library and museums – (but that can be part of education, I think.) Oh, and sofas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No one likes to pay taxes but they are necessary but like most people I wonder where the hell the money goes as we feel like the government waste so much money

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    • I know there’s a lot of waste. A lot! But I do what I can by my votes and participation, and then I just concentrate on the good stuff.

      Like

  7. Reading this in UK makes me realise that tax and all the accompanying issues are the same for most of us the world over. Having worked for most of my adult life, except for the years bringing up young children, I am now receiving my professional and state pensions, for which I am grateful, but now still paying tax on this income! My husband and I were having an early morning political debate in the light of the UK forthcoming election and suddenly I asked where had all the money gone from our years of austerity cuts and increased taxes as apparently the National Debt is no smaller for all these measures? neither of us had an answer but we have less police on our streets, fewer doctors in our hospitals, cuts to our social benefits but still a gigantic overdraft and are continuing to borrow. If I were to cut the meals that I cook, the laundry I do, the home maintenance but still retain the same housekeeping budget, I would have a surplus of money each month, however small it would slowly build in to a nest egg. So where are the governments of the world going wrong?

    Like

    • There’s always a lot of waste in government – no doubt about it. Do what you can with your votes and your participation, but don’t forget to appreciate how much the government helps you and those even less fortunate.

      Like

  8. We’ve got no kids either and pay our taxes like you, knowing some of them go towards things we don’t have/use. Apart from not having a (legal) choice, we are happy (ish) to comply.
    One of the biggest cons-to-be that didn’t happen was the suggestion to add the TV licence to our council tax bills. (Council tax is a levy on our property calculated on its value and set by local councils every year). Hubby and I saw red at this proposal as we do not have a television, and have not had one for over ten years. Luckily, it did not come about, and the BBC just put it up again, though they did close a loophole about watching ‘Catch up TV’ and basically now if you watch any BBC programme whether recorded, on a computer, ipad or other viewing device, you need a TV licence currently £147 a year (for imo drivel, more drivel and repeated drivel).

    Like

    • We have no “television tax” here in the US, but we do pay for cable tv – very high fees. And we have commercials. So many commercials it makes my head spin. However, I worked for many years in the television industry, and that’s where my pension comes from, so I always reminded myself: “Beer pays my mortgage.” (I worked in Sports TV – lots and lots of beer ads.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I absolutely agree with you. It never occurred to me that childless couples should not pay for schools. As you say every child needs education,They will be running the country when we are old. I think it is the same in every country and sadly the first place that politicians want to make their cuts is usually the old, the young, the sick and the unemployed.

    Like

    • We need to help those who are less fortunate that we are. That is what being civilized and human means.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Terry Nichols

    Your words are a gentle and non-preachy reminder that we live in community, and yes, it’s perfectly appropriate that we contribute toward the welfare of others–and in the end, ourselves.

    Like

    • I think a government that would not help its citizens in need is not much of a government.

      Like

  11. I am in your camp. It is always painful to write that check, but if we don’t do our part to help each other and just feel resentful all the time,… well that is no way to live. (Also, some spam slipped through your filter in one of your comments.)

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    • I know there is terrible waste in government, but helping people buy food, and educating our children don’t need to be cut in order to save money. Ethical priorities need to be set.

      Like

    • I took care of that spam, thanks… don’t know why WordPress didn’t catch it – they are really pretty good at that.

      Like

  12. Well said. And it’s not as if reducing the funds for SNAP is somehow going to eliminate the cheaters, is it? It will only hurt the people who truly need the help.

    Like

    • Yes, exactly. I’d rather help those who needed it, even if a few who don’t need it benefit too.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I may not have children but I was one and I was educated at least partly for free so I owe!

    Like

    • That’s a good perspective. I went to a parochial elementary school, but I went to public high school and the state university. So I need to thank the previous generations of taxpayers for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pam

    I agree with you completely! Even if you don’t have children in the school system, people were paying taxes years ago so that YOU could go to school and become a productive member of society. Educated people benefit everyone and that makes me happy!

    Also, nature centers and such are educational. If the govt spends money on something everyone can enjoy, I don’t mind. It may give someone something to do or enjoy other than drinking and drugging! Quality of life matters! I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes even if there are some people milking the system. I don’t want that to stop those less fortunate than me from eating.

    Like

    • Yes, I am refusing to worry too much about the undeserving. I want to concentrate on the deserving.

      Like

  16. For the most part I would agree with you. The only part that irks me is that those school taxes that are paid to educate the young people who in the future will be making the decisions…as far as I am concerned that back fired on us big time when the people who were educated by those tax dollars actually gave us #45. One has to wonder about that education system. IMHO. I think about this a lot.

    Like

    • That’s an interesting point. How in the world did people not recognize the cruelty that was being offered?

      Liked by 1 person

  17. If only more people thought this way the world would be a much nicer place! Thanks for these great thoughts! And I’m so glad you are writing a new book! Loved your first one! ~Elle

    Like

  18. Would you be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the gauthor. There is no fee; I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please let me know via email.

    Autumn
    AutumnCote@WriterBeat.com

    Like

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  1. Happily Taxed | Aheadguide

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