A year in the life...

Income tax time!
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 - Income tax time! - Techno-Impressionist Museum - Techno-Impressionism - art - beautiful - photo photography picture - by Tony Karp

Wow! It's Income Tax time! (Actually, you get a few days grace this year because April 15th falls on a weekend, but it's close enough to feel the pressure.) So I thought I'd post a picture to show how I feel about getting squeezed by the government and say a few things about what they do with my tax money (and yours).

I've often thought that you should have a place on the tax return where you could say how you want your money spent, or at least some check boxes to select broad categories. For instance, you might choose to direct your tax dollars to education or health care or helping those in need or fighting the spread of disease in third world countries or helping to find alternative sources of energy or creating new jobs to help boost the economy. Stuff like that.

Or you could choose to direct your tax dollars to bringing war to foreign countries, bombing, killing people. Stuff like that. I wonder, given that choice, what people would actually choose.

Would you choose, for instance, to use your tax money to make things easier for the very rich? While our administration talks about tax cuts for all, most will be on unearned income, with tiny cuts for people like you and me who actually work for our money.

And what about the wars that we're in, or are being planned by those in charge? Traditionally, during every war in American history, taxes have been raised to pay for the war. Not this time. Tax cuts instead. The war and the tax cuts are pushing the national debt to unprecedented levels -- to the point where it is actually endangering the future of the country.

But not to worry, the folks in charge have an answer to that as well. Instead of raising taxes on the rich, let's just make up the difference by cutting essential federal programs. These are the programs that help the needy, give grants and assistance to help everyone get an education, help build and maintain roads and infrastructure. Stuff like that.

This leaves the individual states scrambling to make up for federal cuts in programs like Medicaid. So what do the states do to make up the difference? They raise state and local taxes, mostly on middle class folks like you and me. So whatever imaginary tax cut you got from the federal government, it's more than wiped out by increases in real estate taxes, state and local income taxes, and sales taxes. The net effect is that the cost of living is going up and real income is declining.

The last administration, lest we forget, was far more responsible. Taxes were spread fairly across all income levels, there were plenty of jobs, there was actually a budget surplus, and there was a plan to pay off the national debt.

And there were no wars, and the papers had good news from time to time.

Seems like such a long time ago.

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