I did my taxes last month. That is, I paid someone to do them for me. Long ago, I figured out that procrastination was its own worst punishment, and the best thing is to do everything you absolutely have to do right away. That frees your time up to do something more pleasant and frees your mind of guilt.
Now I’ll tell you something even weirder about me. I like paying taxes. That’s right. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I wish I had more of my own money to buy stuff with.
But I have no problem with paying taxes. Talking about money has replaced talking about sex as the new taboo, and I am about to break it. My wife and I paid somewhat more than $40,000 in federal income taxes last year, and I feel good about that.
This is a pretty wonderful country, and I like to contribute my bit to it. That doesn’t mean I approve of everything the government does. I think every cent spent on the Iraq war is wasted, and I wish the feds would spend it on rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure instead. But I don’t mind paying taxes, and regard those who whine about them as obnoxiously selfish.
The fact that we are so anti-tax stems in part from years of politicians unscrupulously telling us that taxation was theft.
We’ve been led to believe that we can have our highly expensive layer cake and get away with not paying for it, too.
My own views are classic conservative ones, taken from that paragon of Republican rectitude, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. “I like to pay taxes,“ he said. “They are the price we pay for civilized society.“ When the average person thinks of where their tax money goes, they think of bloated bureaucrats.
If you are on the right, you may think of your dollars going to undeserving welfare recipients. If you are on the left, you may think of money being used to torture people in secret CIA prisons.
In fact, the federal income tax is why we have an interstate highway system. Without taxes, we could drive on dirt roads and go to the bathroom in the back yard. As for education, mama could handle that while daddy fends off the vigilantes.
This year, to try and keep services up and ward off economic collapse, our government will spend more than a trillion dollars more than it collects. Much of the shortfall will be borrowed from places like Communist China. I think we should pay for more of it instead.
This is our country, and we’ve never thought much of freeloaders. On this tax day, it might make sense to realize that it is only right to pay to finance the lifestyle we have come to enjoy.