Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Tax Man Cometh - But Only for Some

by Pa Rock
Tax Paying Fool

Tomorrow is April 15th, the date by which federal and state taxes are traditionally due to be paid, although this year the doomsday has been pushed back to Monday, April 18th.  That three-day push-back is due to the fact that this year "Emancipation Day" in Washington, DC, will be celebrated on April 15th instead of the actual anniversary date of April 16th - which is a Saturday - and government employees are already off on Saturday.  (Emancipation Day commemorates the day that President Lincoln freed 3,100 enslaved persons in Washington, DC, months before he authored the famous Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st 1863, that freed 3.1 million slaves in all of the states that had left the Union.)

(My first guess was that April 15th was probably Good Friday this year.  Silly me.  Good Friday falls one week later on April 22 - which means Easter must be Sunday, April 24th, the actual end of Lent and the date on which I can resume ranting about the ignorant pork shop from Cape Girardeau!)

But I am going to honor tradition and pay my taxes tomorrow.  They are significantly higher this year, but unlike some, I still think that it is a privilege to pay taxes in order to help meet our mutual needs as a society.  I like driving on paved roads, knowing that all children have the opportunity to go to school, police and fire protection, hospitals and emergency rooms that open their doors to anyone, and the thousand other benefits of shared public sacrifice.  I hope by the time I return to the States to finally retire that high-speed rail will be becoming a reality.

So it has been with  mild amusement that I have listened to Representative Ryan and President Obama declare their visions of how to bring down the debt and fix the economy.   Ryan is Republican to the core.  He  preaches cutting the hell out of any and all social programs, and wants to put Medicare on a voucher program - a process that will quickly result in many old people not being able to receive medical care because even with vouchers, they won't be able to meet the ever-rising costs of healthcare.  Let them die in the streets, right Ryan?  If they had been practicing theivery and greed at an early age, they could have met their medical needs.  They could have also met those needs if they had exhibited the good sense to get elected to Congress.

President Obama doesn't want to abandon Medicare, but even he is talking about making cuts in Medicare and Medicaid expenses - and that is very troublesome.  Americans need more access to good healthcare, not less.

But the President has gone a couple of places in his budget proposal where Republicans will not tread under any circumstances.  He is talking about some reductions in the Defense budget - the drainpipe that is sucking down most of our ability to stay economically viable and thus independent.

The President is also again talking about taxing the richest individuals and corporations in America at a higher rate.  In fact, for many corporations, such as General Electric, paying any taxes would be an increase over what they currently contribute to the national coffers!  Republicans, of course, go absolutely nuts when people point out that the rich could be doing more.  They scream about "raising taxes" as if that would affect all Americans - it won't.  The only ones who would be singled out are individuals making over $250,000 a year and big corporations - traditional campaign finance sources for Republican politicians.

Warren Buffett once noted that his personal assistant (glorified secretary) paid more in taxes than he did.  Buffett feels the rich should pull more of their own weight - but not many other millionaires and billionaires share that view or would spout such heresy.

Republicans also prosletyze that money should be lavished on the rich so that it can trickle down to the working classes.  (Members of Congress aren't considered working class, so they just hold their hands out for direct "donations.")

My good friend Xobekim pointed out recently that money doesn't trickle down in our economy, and that those who wanted to know what actually does trickle down should consult their plumbers.

Amen, Brother Box, amen!

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