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Dreaded Taxes [UPDATED] - by Rev. J.T. Smith

It's that season again: Tax season.  No one likes having to pay them.  And whenever we hear politicians promise to somehow cut or lower them, we instinctively love the idea.

Then again, we don't like having to pay for things like phone bills, car repairs, rent/mortgage, or any of the other bills that keep our needs met either.  Unfortunately, if you don't pay the phone bill, then no phone service for you.  Don't spend the money on the car repairs and maintenance?  Then you're out a working car.  (This becomes an even bigger issue if you live in a rural area with no available public transportation.)  Don't pay rent/mortgage?  Then you're either rich, living with very understanding friends/relatives, or you're homeless.

The problem is that the same concept also applies to taxes as they are in fact what pays for all of the services that are all too often taken for granted: Police/fire/emergency services, roads and their accouterments and maintenance, public schools, et al.  And the taxes are meant to ensure that all of us chip in, thus lowering the cost per individual.  As usual, we have politicians who are looking to privatize all those services in order to “lower taxes.”  The fact is that the wealthy want to lower their own taxes, at the expense of everyone else.  It's similar to the concept of “trickle-down economics.”  While it might sound good on the surface, the reality is quite different as history has demonstrated that those latter ideas simply don't work.  By privatizing what would otherwise be public services, we’re effectively paying more money for what amounts to less services as that is what allows the corporations to make more money, and the bottom line of profits will always matter far more to corporate America than people’s lives.  And the politicians who push for privatization are really in the pockets of those corporations and the exceptionally wealthy through the lobbyists who are metaphorically whispering in their ear.

This can be changed, it can be fixed.  Sadly, it won’t happen overnight; but, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.  We need people in every level of government who want and are willing to push for tax reforms that forces those who can afford it (e.g. earn/receive $300,000 per year or more) to pay more in taxes in that they have more available to pay, as opposed to always sticking the working poor with the bill as is done now.  Not only those wealthy people, but  corporations also need to pay their share.  “Each and every year, we lose $100 billion in revenue because large corporations and the wealthy are stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, and other offshore tax havens.  That has got to stop.” [Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt)]  What's more, as Senator Sanders has also noted: “At a time when we now spend almost as much as the rest of the world combined on defense, we can make judicious cuts in our armed forces without compromising our military capability.” 

Really, cutting America's military spending in half, which would still result in greater spending than the next top three countries combined, along with forcing corporations and the super-rich to pay their fair share of taxes including on all of the money they have tucked away in other countries, would easily cover the social safety net, the desperately needed infrastructure repairs, the salaries for emergency services, fully fund top notch public education as well as college tuition, and still have money available to lift everyone in this country out of poverty.

A very strong message that we must send to every level of government, especially to those politicians who constantly cry about government spending, is that the Government is not a for profit business but is rather a non-profit organization that is meant to serve ALL citizens regardless of age, biological gender, gender expression, transgender, skin colour, ethnic background, physical ability or disability, sexual orientation, or any other grouping of citizens we might think of that I've missed.

We can begin to bring about the changes needed by first making certain our voter registrations are up to date.  When election time comes around again (Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial, Mayoral, etc., et. al.), we vote in those who would push for and through the above mentioned changes in taxation practices.  In the interim between voting cycles, we can still band together and push for change.  Join local activist groups or start your own.  Write letters to the editor, write and sign petitions.  And follow the advice of Hillary Clinton when she said at National Partnership's 2012 Annual Luncheon on June 26, 2012, “Get organized, get involved, and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.”


by Rev. J.T. Smith