Unlike my friends, I am not going to write about the abstract. Do not get me wrong, I sincerely enjoy abstract thinking and it leads to some absolutely marvelous end products. Philosophy fascinates me and I enjoy philosophizing; in the words of Descartes “Cogito Ergo Sum” or “I think, therefore I am.” I am sure that a number of my posts will be philosophical in nature, however, the vast majority (and let’s not kid ourselves, this is a form of media, which means that it should try to attract an audience from the majority) of people simply do not concern themselves with the abstract thinking. What matters to most people is the day to day palpable “things” that are immediately necessary to simply exist and forward “life*.”
The first thing, sadly enough, that comes to mind when I think palpable, which according to the New American Oxford Dictionary “means capable of being touched or felt (: a palpable mist), but it is often applied to whatever evokes a tactile response from the body,” is taxable. Yes taxes, the bane of the middle class, the forsaken ground where no politician dare treads for fear of an angry mob running him/her out of office with torches and pitchforks.
The word tax simply brims with negative connotations, especially in the United States of America. We have heard since the first days of history class the rally cry of the American Revolution, “NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!” But in contemporary times, we seem to have forgotten the “without representation” portion of this battle cry. The founding fathers were opposed to taxation, just like so many of us are, but they were opposed to it because a group of people 4000 miles away were imposing unfair taxes on them while they were given no say in policy. They did, however, understand the need for taxation (at least those who wrote and voted for the Constitution, a disproportional segment of the Constitution is devoted to taxation).
Election season is upon us here in West Virginia, and the television advertisements, radio spots, and signage bombard us daily and will only get worse until Tuesday evening when the polls close. The one ad that I keep seeing and hearing that infuriates me beyond all else is some form of the following “Vote for me, I’ll lower your taxes.” I saw this on a bumper sticker today and felt like rear ending the driver, if we didn’t have taxes, there wouldn’t be a road for this imbecile to be driving on.
The great paradox of American thinking is that we shouldn’t be paying as much as we are in taxes (I’m included in this every time I get a sick feeling in my stomach on looking at the amount taken out of my paycheck), but we also think we are entitled to a great deal of services (which have been at their highest amount since FDR’s New Deal). We get mad when we hit potholes, the road isn’t cleared, the water supply isn’t up to par, our school systems suck, or emergency services are lacking and we go to our local governments and we raise 10 kinds of hell. But these people are POWERLESS to help us. They don’t have enough money to stay solvent as it is, let alone increase the amount of services. And it is our fault, we have figuratively bound their hands, because the only way they can provide the services WE DEMAND is revenue from our tax dollars, and we refuse to sacrifice a justifiable amount if we wish for these services to continue.
There are three option:
- We can become Socialist and give every cent we make to the government in order from them to redistribute it and give everyone and equal quality of life. (Albeit one that would probably suck, thanks for that USSR**).
- We can quit paying taxes altogether, and slip into anarchy. We can have all of our money to ourselves and get rid of government. We will just have to be okay with losing each and every public service that we currently demand from the government. (I’m looking at you Tea Baggers***).
- Or we can shut up, elect people not based on insane promises that lead to anarchy, and elect people who understand the need for taxation, but also have respect and intelligence enough not to support frivolous spending. (This probably means looking away from partisan lines).
So we need to ask ourselves; do we want to become socialist, an anarchy, or can we survive by buying the slightly less expensive sports car without the butt warmer in order to make sure that we have all the services we need as a society to survive?
*I have a different definition of life, which will be explained later, and is why I used quotation marks.
** I know the USSR was communist, I was making a point.
*** Tea Baggers is a term used to refer to the “Tea Party” used predominately by Bill Maher. Props to you Bill.