Your Tax Dollars at Work
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.
Don't forget what Stephen Colbert said, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias."
Cross Posted @ Bring It On, tblog, Blogger and BlogSpirit