Your Tax Dollars at Work

Greed is a very strong emotion. People want money, because they equate money with security. If you don’t feel safe, then you can use your money to buy protection. If you have enough money to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood, then you will have a strong police force to protect you. How do I know? All of the people in this nice neighborhood pay high taxes to have the strong police force to protect their assets. Money is security.

Why can’t we spend our tax dollars to have a nice city, instead of a nice neighborhood? Obviously we don’t have enough money to protect the entire city, that is why we choose to protect the wealthy areas of town and let the rest of the city fend for itself. At least that’s the philosophy in most of the country.

For more than forty years the Republicans have told you that they wanted smaller government. They told you that they wanted you to keep your money and spend it as you please. They told you that free markets and free enterprise would solve all of our problems. This language translates into: If you are wealthy and live in a wealthy neighborhood, then you should spend your money on your neighborhood. You should build the best schools, have the best parks, control crime with the majority of police force, and encourage only the wealthiest of citizens to live in your neighborhood. High home prices yield high taxes and discourage the “dregs” of society from living in your town. Wealthy communities draw the wealthy and powerful to live there and result in a disproportionate amount of power in the higher ranks of state and federal government. Forcing you to spend money on surrounding poor neighborhoods only encourages those who don’t have capital to be lazy and stay in their cesspool neighborhoods. And, for forty years those who were well off believed this line of thinking.

To the benefit of the Republican Party this line of thinking trickled down to the middle class in America. The middle class heard the selected bits from this reasoning. They heard lower taxes. They didn’t realize that lower federal and state taxes should be offset by higher local taxes in order to provide services that most people enjoy, like nice schools, parks and police. No, they believed that lower taxes meant more money in their own pocket to buy a new video game or a deep fried cheese sandwich. The middle class don’t have a ton of money, so tax cuts sound like a great idea in the times of inflation when everything seems to be just out of reach. And, when Republicans cut taxes then the federal funding in poorer parts of the country began to dry up. The net effect was to direct more money into wealthy neighborhoods and away from poor and middle class neighborhoods.

In the current conservative Republican mind the only reason for federal taxes is to fund national security. There was a time in our country when conservatives were motivated to build infrastructure in our country. That infrastructure helped business accomplished the difficult task of getting products to customers. It was in the government’s interest to aid airlines, railroads and trucking companies to smooth out all the wrinkles. Today, many believe that the infrastructure is built and it will last forever. Or, if it doesn’t then people can figure out how to maintain these things without the coordination of the government. If the companies that use this infrastructure need it maintained, then they will find a way to pay for it. FedEx and UPS should be out there fixing the airports, filling the potholes and dredging the channels. After all, what are we paying these guys for?

Instead our tax dollars are meant to be spent on our national security. For example, we should be sending our government employees around the Middle East fixing their problems. After all, that is what we are doing in Iraq. After we so quickly destroyed Iraq in creative ways like shorting out all of their electrical generation plants, blowing up bridges and dropping bombs on restaurants we are now trying to fix all of those problems. Our government is using your tax dollars to repair the infrastructure in Iraq. They can’t spend your hard earned money fixing our schools, but the supporters of the war in Iraq complain that the media doesn’t spend enough time glorifying the schools that your tax dollars built in Iraq. Isn’t their something ironic about this picture?

Our government knows that the burning of fossil fuels is changing our environment. They know that the old dirty power plants that are providing us with power could be made cleaner and more efficient with a little government help. But, we are spending our tax dollars rebuilding the power plants in Iraq instead.
In fact, we are spending billions of dollars on our effort in Iraq, but the president vetoes bills of a few million dollars and claims that he does this because of expense. Are we not the richest nation in the world? Well, actually I think Monaco is, but we are probably ranked higher than Iraq. Shouldn’t we be spending our money in our own country before we go around the world “nation building?” Even George W Bush said this in the collection of lies that he spouted while he was campaigning to be our president in 2000. But, George W Bush never was a man of his word. He has always said as little as possible to get elected and then remain vague on the actions that he really meant to take.

As this election cycle approaches we need to keep these lessons in mind. Candidates from which ever party will tell you the minimum information necessary to win your vote. No one will vote for the candidate who will tell us the whole truth. It is just too painful to realize that so many of our previous candidates lied to us and stole our money to pay for the previous generation. Ronald Reagan borrowed money to pay for his tax cuts. We are paying interest on some of those loans today. George W Bush borrowed more money to pay for his expansion of government. Arnold Schwarzenagger borrowed money to pay for the money that Enron stole from California. What do all of these leaders have in common? They are all Republicans that told us that they were going to cut our taxes. They may have cut taxes for the current generation, but they mortgaged those tax cuts on our children. And, who is winning in this capitalist business transaction? Why, that would be the Chinese government that bought a large portion of those government bonds. The Chinese government is now collecting interest on those bonds. In the long run we are paying the Chinese a government handout, when we have people in our country that really need a helping hand.

Some of our children don’t get proper health care, because their parents can’t afford the regular check ups, or the health insurance. When a child gets sick, these parents don’t have the money to take their kids to the doctor. Only when the illness becomes so extreme that an emergency room visit is the only thing that will save their life does a parent take their child for help. And, since they can’t afford the ER expense the visit is paid for with our tax dollars. Doesn’t it make a bit more sense to pay the lower cost of preventative care instead of waiting for a child to get so ill that they need the ER in order to survive? But, this is how we currently spend your tax dollars.

If you look at how your money is being spent today, I believe that most of us would agree that we are wasting a lot of money. And, the situation got this way by politicians pandering to the public and not telling us the whole truth. But, since no politician who told the whole truth could ever be elected we are left with the only possible option. That is, we must learn the truth despite what the politicians tell us. And the only way to learn the truth this way is to be skeptical, cynical and assume the worst about every politician on both sides of the aisle. Then the politicians will be forced to tell you more and more until the truth finally wins out. Doubt demands clarity. Skeptics are not easily fooled, because they expect to be fooled. Cynics are the toughest vote to win, but that only means that truth will win out.

On the other hand, if we continue to be the society that believes everything they hear, read or see without questioning, then we will meet the same downfall of every other “great” democracy. Those hungry for power will tell the people what they want to hear and do what ever they please without a single major challenge. And, democracy will fall to tyranny again.

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Don’t forget what Stephen Colbert said, “Reality has a well-known liberal bias.”

Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit

Reflection

4 Responses to “Your Tax Dollars at Work”

  1. manapp99 Says:

    There is no way that local issues are better dealt with at the federal level as opposed to the local. Look at the logic. You send 1 dollar to Washington. That dollar will have to go through the “process” in Washington which cost more dollars to do so. You have to pay money just to have the money you send sent back to you. Minus the feds cut. Jesse Ventura once said (paraprhasing) You send 2 dollars to Washington to get less than 1 dollar back. Sending money to the feds is like the mafia sending money to Vegas. It has to be laundered. You probably get about 20 cents on the dollar.

    The other thing. In any community you will find law enforcement spending the bulk of their time in poor neighborhoods disproprotionatley as that is where most of the crime is. While rich people pay far more in real dollars toward the tax burden, they get far less in government services such as law enforcement and social service programs. In reality the poor need the rich to fund the programs that help them with housing, food and medicine. You may dislike the rich but they pay far more dollars into the system than any other group.

  2. Dr. Forbush Says:

    If local issues are dealt with better at a local level, then why is there so much difference between the levels of education between different neighborhood schools?

    If you are wealthy and you send two dollars to Washington, it makes sense that some of that money is going to those who are sending less to Washington. There isn’t a sink hole in Washington sucking up all the money. All of the money is being spent to make the country stronger, not just your pocket book. The goal isn’t to send money to Washington and get it back every year with projects in your neighborhood. The idea is to make the country stronger. If the money goes to a military base in another country, do you count that money as less in return for your taxes spent? How are you counting your decrease in what you get in return. Obviously you would get more back if we just cut all military spending. Unless you live in a military town. Taxes are for making our community stronger and until conservatives realize this our country will deteriorate into a Mississippi from coast to coast.

  3. manapp99 Says:

    Dr. who do you think can make better decisions about your local school, your local school board or the Dept. of Education? In Colorado the school revenue is raise primarily from property tax. The tax is sent to the state and the money is divided equally amongst the school districts to ensure that each district is funded equally and the rich areas will not get more than the poor ones. Fair enough. Now tell me how the taxes we send to Washington to fund the dept. of education helps kids at any level? The 2008 budget for federal dept of ed is 67.2 billion dollars. I don’t know what percent of that money is spent on the bureaucracy of day to day operations but you can bet it is hefty. Remember the government is famous for paper shufflers, fraud and waste. The same for any money sent to the feds from the states. A large chunk of change is going to have to be spent to employ the paper shufflers that will take a bite here and there and then send a portion back to the states it came from to begin with. I am not talking about redistribution of wealth ( a great topic for another day), I am talking about the imense amount of money spent on the business of spending money. There is hardly an orginization more wasteful than government. Matter of fact wasting money is their forte. Throw in the fact that government employees are union and you can count on spending about 35% more for the same work that non union employees would cost.. Years ago I heard that only about 10% of the money you send to the United Way ends up being used directy for those they are trying to help. If it is only 10% for them you can bet it is no better for the government. This is what I think liberals don’t understand about government. I sounds good that they would want to help those in need but the reality is that they are the least efficient group to do so. This is why the last thing we want to do is allow the government to take over the management of health care services. There is just too much waste and fraud.

  4. Dr. Forbush Says:

    manapp99,

    You confuse me with your arguments. First, you say that local schools should make decisions about local schools. Since I wasn’t arguing that I totally agree with you. I am making an argument for resources, not what should be done with those resources. So, then you support my argument by using the example of everyone sending funds to the state and having the state distribute the funds.

    Actually, There are times when a school might need a bit more cash for repairs, or to impliment a new program. Shouldn’t there be a way for a school to get the funds to pursue inovation? Obviously the local schools know when they have an idea. And, most of the time a local school does not have the resources to try something new. If the idea has promise to make things run better district or state wide should a school be able to inovate?

    Obviously wasting money is not desired, but who determines if a program is a waste or a benefit? And, by whos standards? For example, English only was an idea that needed to be proposed as something new. In California this law generated many new ideas on how to handle students that had no idea as to what was happening in their classrooms. How do you engage these bored students that disrupt the rest of the classroom because they have no idea as to what is going on? Do you make exceptions to the law, allow parents to protest the law, group students in seperate classrooms or something else? How does the school know which method is the most effective? Who pays to do the research to find out? Or, do we just ignore the problem and hope it goes away?

    True enough, each school has its own problems and needs some additional funding for additional problems or solutions. The local schools know this the best, but they don’t always have the resources. The point is that they federal government should assure fairness to the best of their ability, and they should be a channel for some additional resources to address problems. In return, the solutions to those problems need to be shared with other schools across the country, making the total school picture more efficient.

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