Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Republicans grumpy on Tax Day

Today is tax day. I mailed mine this afternoon along with a check. A small check, but still a check. I'm not exactly overjoyed to do my taxes. I'd rather get a refund than write a check, but the golden mean in taxes is to get as close to a zero balance on line 76 as possible. I'm getting very close.

April 15 is also the day that Republicans traditionally complain about high taxes and big government. Maybe it was cute during the Reagan years, when the Repubs were outnumbered in Congress and their only friend was in the White House. But not now. For six years, they've owned The Big White House, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House. Not to mention the Supreme Court and the Fourth Estate, at least the MSM variety.

So whose fault is big gubment in 2008? Bill Clinton, probably, or maybe FDR and all of his free-spending New Deal projects. The Democrats in Congress pre-1994, when Newt & Co. drafted the Contract with America and began to reduce spending in so-called entitlement programs while it increased welfare for the rich.

Now we have one trillion dollars spent in Iraq with much more to come, especially if McCain is elected. His big idea for an economic stimulus plan? Give all Americans a gas-tax holiday this summer. This would remove the 18-cent federal tax on gasoline for an as-yet-to-be undetermined amount of time. How will the tax revenue be made up? We will probably borrow more from anti-democratic Saudi sheiks, dig ourselves a deeper hole than we already inhabit. And McCain wants to make Bush's tax cuts for the rich permanent. How will he pay for his 100-Year-War in Iraq? Borrow, borrow, borrow. Deficit spending. Hey -- I thought only Democrats did that. But wait. Bill Clinton left office with a budget surplus and George W. Bush couldn't wait to run up the bill.

I heard Wyoming's U.S. Sen. John Barrasso on the radio this evening. He bemoaned high taxes and big gubment. He said that the tax code was too complicated and that Americans spend up to 30 hours doing the paperwork. They could be doing other things with their time. Watching "Survivor," for instance, or reading this blog. I may have spent 20 hours on tax preparation. I learned a little about the complicated tax code. Every once in awhile I'd think about how my taxes are used. War in Iraq. Bloated defense budget. Big ships for the U.S. Navy to use against the dreaded al-Qaeda navy. Subsidized no-bid contracts for Cheney's pals at Halliburton.

I'm just being a nattering nabob of negativity. Taxes also pay for roads, education, national parks, Medicaid, worthwhile military uses (such as the National Guard), historic preservation, and many other worthwhile causes. In high school civics classes, I learned that citizens don't necessarily get to pick-and-choose those programs it wants to fund. We elect people that we think will do the best job -- and trust them to do it. If they don't, we can vote against them next time. That's a bit simplistic. Adults know that we don't always get our way. So you just work harder. As we used to say on my old ship, the N.S.E.A. Protector: "Never give up! Never surrender!"

Happy Tax Day!


kainah said...

60% of your tax money is going to the war machine, in its various forms. That's one of the most depressing statistics I've come across in a very, very long time.

Michael Shay said...

You're right -- those are depressing stats. But some defense expenditures are justified and some are pure waste and stupidity and corruption. We've seen much more of the latter during the Bush reign.