Monday, Sep 01, 2014
Columns

On paying my ‘fair share’ of taxes


Published:

I just finished paying and mailing my federal income tax; a resultant, bilious “taste” remains — even though I have since rinsed well with Tanqueray gin and dry vermouth.

There is nothing about that tax (i.e., collection and/or spending of) that isn’t disgraceful, disgusting, repugnant, infuriating, amoral and nationally destructive. The only persons benefiting from it are sleazy lawyers and corrupt politicians (are there other kinds?), along with inefficient and unproductive government employees, and leech-like, “entitlement-supported” residents, whether legal or otherwise.

If we replaced the obscenely bloated federal tax with something such as a value-added, or national sales tax, we’d all pay far less than now, and with no need to employ the greedy overpaid lawyers who incidentally made it so complicated that even they don’t understand it.

Back in the 1940s, my father and mother earned a combined income of between $5,000 and $10,000 (closer to $5,000). He was a sales-promotion engineer, working out of a NYC office; she was a second-grade teacher in the upscale suburb of Pelham Manor. That seemingly modest income, in that time, economically placed them in the upper 5 percent of all families in the nation.

They then, and relatively simply, paid only about 7 percent of that income in federal taxes, which bought far more efficient and useful government than we suffer today. In addition, they paid for our family’s medical insurance and provided for their own retirement, their children’s educations and applicable insurance (e.g., life, auto, home and liability). Today, it’s not at all unusual to pay triple that rate in taxes, which are wasted at a shocking rate. But few today seem to care — especially not those that receive far more money from the government than they pay back.

President Barack Obama, who dramatically (and deceptively) claims to be “for the common man,” wastes millions of dollars on each of countless flights aboard Air Force One, which are mostly made for purely personal purposes — even worse, he lets his family use the U.S. Air Force to flit off to Colorado, Hawaii, Mexico, Africa or wherever, whenever he wants. Hundreds of thousands of us pay taxes just to support that disgraceful behavior, and more.

Set aside for a moment, if you can, the president’s imperial approach (i.e., “Let them eat cake”) to governing the population, and you come to the Congress of the U.S., which cheerfully allocates your taxes, and mine, to study nonsense, such as “what animals think” or the reproductive cycle of the one-eyed, shale oil worm.

Yes, you and I, required by laws crafted by greedy, amoral lawyers, must fork over our hard-earned cash, or go directly to jail — without passing GO — for which those shameless, amoral lawyers, in concert with pork-fed politicians, “thank you” (not literally) for your enforced contributions to their bloated welfare.

Cartoonists, on occasion of the approaching April 15 deadline, have been having fun ridiculing the incredibly complex, convoluted, contorted and carelessly connived federal tax code. There is a sort of humor found in that disgraceful mess; one must, after all, either laugh or cry at the thought of it.

But we can attempt to do something about that nationally destructive tax. We can join together to demand that the income tax law be eliminated and replaced by a simple to understand and apply national sales tax (or other similar tax, such as a value-added tax). There is, in that, the potential to save billions of dollars in tax administration alone and to thereby significantly reduce what each of us must then pay in federal taxes. At the same time we must demand fiscal responsibility from our elected officials.

We cannot long endure politicians, such as our president and Vice President Joe Biden, who routinely squander billions of tax dollars on frivolous personal pleasures, while publicly bragging that they donated a few thousand dollars of their very generous salaries to government coffers.

Congress must clean up its disgraceful act, by eliminating “pork,” and severely cutting the national budget. For far too long, greedy, thoughtless, ignorant voters have enthusiastically supported politicians that “bring home the bacon” to their regions. As my hero Pogo Possum once put it in a classic comic strip: “I have met the enemy, and he is us.”

Yes, unless we all begin to accept that universal sacrifice is necessary if we are to have a chance of avoiding national financial collapse, and therefore join together to demand and support budget cuts across the board, we will inexorably stumble on along a path to financial crisis.


Of Cabbages and Kings is a syndicated column by J.G. Nash. Relevant comment may be sent to him at jgn@jgnash.com.

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