Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

[politics] This is tax day, and I love it

April 15th in the United States is tax day. (Well, April 16th when the 15th falls on a weekend, as with this year.) It's tax day, and I love it.

Mind you, every day is tax day. We all pay taxes when we buy gas or ride the bus or train for which diesel has been purchased. We all pay sales taxes at the cash register. (Well, except here in Oregon.) We all pay property taxes, either directly through our mortgages or indirectly through our rent. We all pay payroll taxes whenever we received a paycheck through statutory employment. But here in USAnia, April 15th carries all the symbolism.

Do I like filing taxes? Heck, no. The process drives me nuts. This is true mostly because of the Schedule C I have to file for writing income, and specifically the business expenses. I don't make enough money to pay someone else to deal with that stuff for me, so I have to track all the damned receipts myself. It's tedious and annoying, but it's how I can best optimize my tax picture.

Do I like paying taxes? Heck, yes. The outcome is extremely worthwhile. I like having roads and bridges. I like having emergency services available. I like having universal public education and public hospitals and child and family services. I like clean air and clean water. I like the space program and the FAA and the FDA and all the myriad machineries of government that ensure that the goods and services I buy are safe and perform as advertised. Heck, even though I often disagree with how the machineries of national defense are employed by our government, I like having them.

Conservatives like to pretend that government is the problem, but honestly, not a heck of lot of would get done without the enabling processes of government. Everything from stable contract law to decent public roads for the delivery of wholesale and retail goods stems from the government. Conservatives also like to pretend that they did it all themselves, and if they can get ahead in life without handouts, no one else should receive handouts either. Which is absolute bullshit. Programs ranging from government-funded education to the home mortgage interest deduction are handouts that conservatives benefit eagerly from. And let's not even talk about farm supports.

One of the things about being a liberal-progressive is that you have to be intellectually honest enough to recognize the role government and other people play in your life. Once you become that self-honest, it's very difficult not to also recognize you owe payback, to support that role for government and other people to play in the lives of those who come after us.

So taxes? Heck, yeah. They support the life I enjoy today, and they help pave the way for others to enjoy the same, or even better, life in the future.

Tags: politics

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