Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rethinking our attitude toward taxes
When was the last time you heard someone proudly share how much they paid in taxes? Not recently, if ever, I would venture to guess. We need to have a change of heart in this country about how we view taxes. We must come to recognize that it is not only right, but also patriotic to pay local, state and federal taxes to support our common good in these United States of America.
It has become a common practice for individuals and corporations to avoid payment of taxes by hiring tax consultants or wealth management advisors to construct sophisticated means of avoiding taxes. Some even hide money in foreign accounts. Those of us paying taxes are coming to feel like we’re suckers for not figuring out the loopholes that so many of the wealthy have had written into the law. Thanks to the encouragement of relators and tax consultants many Americans purchased homes far to large and expensive in order to claim mortgage interest deductions. Others have even purchased second homes. Far too many have overextended themselves.
Despite what Grover Norquist wants us to believe, neither tax, nor taxes, is a four letter word. With a huge national debt, we desperately need both Republicans and Democrats to compromise and figure out a way to raise revenues and lower expenses. The no tax increase pledge that Mr. Norquist strong-armed so many Republicans into taking is flat out anti-American.
How about we add “pay it forward” to our concept of the “American Dream”? What if through our taxes we felt good about supporting people and efforts across our nation, in recognition of our many blessings? Indeed, we’ve been blessed to be a blessing, and strange as this might sound, taxes are one way in which we share our blessing for the common good.
I would be so bold as to say paying taxes is more patriotic than wearing a flag lapel pin. Even more patriotic than sporting a “support our troops” bumper sticker or yard sign. Yes, paying taxes demonstrates even more patriotism than becoming fabulously rich or “successful” as a company while front line worker jobs are outsourced over seas as those remaining have their work loads increased and their wages and benefits cut.
Taxes support our public schools, which help to create a civil and educated citizenry. They help pay for our trains, roads and bridges; critical to individuals and businesses. Our taxes also support research and help to restrict pollution and products that might be harmful to our health, and the health of our children. Taxes actually do go to supporting our troops; both overseas and when they arrive back home. The taxes that you and I pay also help us respond to national disasters, such as the recent megastorm, Sandy.
Yes, taxes also fuel “entitlements”; aiding those who are impoverished, mentally or physically ill. Having a brother with schizophrenia, I’m a strong believe in “There but by the grace of God, go I. “
Are you a taxpayer? If so, be proud that you are able to make a contribution to the common good of this great nation. After all, it’s no shame to pay taxes, in fact it is even patriotic.