Friday, November 17, 2006

What do you think about taxes?

KC has posed the above question her readers. So instead of responding in the comments section, I have decided to post about it.

To me taxes are like going out to dinner with a group of people and deciding at the end of the meal to split the bill equally. Unless everyone has ordered exactly the same thing, some will be consuming more than they paid for, and some will be consuming less than they paid for. The person who decided to only have some soup and salad to save some money, might be a little ticked off with the person ordering the steak and lobster.

When this happens with me with my friends, I don’t mind that much, because firstly, I am also paying for the experience of going out to dinner with my friends (if I was only interested in the food, I would stay home and cook for myself), and secondly, sometimes I am the one who is consuming more.

But it doesn’t happen consistently. It is a give and take. I do have friends who are less fortunate than me, but they give to me in return in other ways.

Plus, I wouldn’t go out to dinner with someone anymore, if they consistently ordered more than they have contributed.

But with taxes, you don’t have that choice. You can’t change tables. And that frustrates me.

Another analogy: taxes is kind of like belonging to a homeowner’s association in a condo building. Everyone has decided to get together and make decisions about what needs to be done, and then everyone will pitch in. Projects are suggested, and the homeowners decide whether or not they would be willing to pay for that. For example, it has been decided that the building needs a new roof or the parking lot needs to be repaved. There probably won’t be any resistance to that, since this is obviously of communal use and everyone will pony up their share.

However, things start getting a little less communal, when a younger couple in the association suggests building a playground and sandbox for their kids. A swimming pool, an elevator, new landscaping for outdoors are all examples of quality of life improvements that could be made, but don’t necessarily benefit everyone.

The homeowners association works through these choices with their system of decision making. And the people have to live with each other, so there is some community involvement. The owners won’t approve beautification projects until the basics are covered. And they will only consent to something over and above what is necessary, if they know that they will get something in reciprocation. So perhaps older couples decide that they will agree to the extra expense of building a playground, if in return their suggestion for improved landscaping is also accepted. If not, they can always decide to see and move to Florida. But once again, we don’t have the choice. Unless we all went Atlas Shrugged on the rest.

But with the federal government, there isn’t a sense of community. And because of this, there doesn’t seem to be much accountability either. And without accountability, there will be no results.

Does this make up a big part of why I am conservative? I would have to say that it probably is the main reason I am conservative.

I think that conservatives identify more with the government as a housekeeper, someone they pay to keep things organized according to their guidelines; while liberals see the government as a caretaker, someone they look to take care of things. And so when I hear someone saying that “the government should pay for that,” I actually hear “please open your wallet wider.”

To sum this up: I think taxes are necessary, but only for basic “housekeeping”: roads, school etc. But I think that once tax spending goes above and beyond mere housekeeping, conflicts of interest appear, unless of course everyone agrees on these extras. But they rarely do. And therein lies the problem.


Blogger KC said...


Do you know that you make my day?!

You're fantastic. You should know this.


I'd normally chime in with input about this post, but like you know, the foundation for it is that I don't have any input...except that you make my day. :)

3:33 AM  
Blogger KC said...


In my excitement, I forgot to tell you-my email is:


3:34 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Ah taxes...

begin rant
I could do a dissertation on taxes. While I do believe it is necessary to provide education to the people of a country, and build roads, that kind of thing... even these things can be way over taxed.

As it stands now, there are sufficient taxes being extracted from me that I don't think we need give any more. At least without a minute accounting of where the current money goes - and you never ever get that.

For instance - when we lived in the Chicago burbs - our school district wanted to raise our taxes every couple of years. "It's for the children" loses its appeal when you're doling out over $7000 a year - just to the school district for a mid-level house (this doesn't include other taxes). The other little "persuation" - it's ONLY $1.00/ whatever. I figure if the amount is so "unimportant", I'll just keep it thank you!

A teacher friend of mine told me how the district worked. Everyone in the school was given a set amount of money to spend - they were not allowed to return any to the general fund - even if they could keep expenses down!!! They were told by the union that they had to spend it all or funding would be cut back the next year!

Yeah, that's how most of these outfits operate. It's disgusting. If any government agency wants more from me - they need to PROVE their reason, not just try to pull my now non-existent heart strings. I've paid way more than my fair share.


3:52 AM  
Blogger KBG said...

There's not really much to add to that. Well put.

9:33 PM  

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