Please don’t throw rocks at me. I have a truly horrible confession to make: I don’t mind paying taxes. I’m not saying I love it (regardless of the title of this post), I’m just saying I don’t hate it. I don’t feel ill-used by my government because I pay taxes. I don’t feel taken advantage of. (I resent my government for completely different reasons, most of which relate to their inefficiency, corpulence, lies, and refusal to be adults and get things done.)
In fact, when I pay my taxes, I feel a little bit good about myself. Look at me, contributing to society! Woo! I know it’s totally not cool this time of year to say nice things about taxes, but since you have to pay your taxes anyway (or break the law– you do have a choice), maybe we could try to look on the bright side a little bit?
Here is my list of things I like about paying taxes. Again, please don’t throw rocks at me.
- I like public parks.
- I like being able to call 911 and have people come to rescue me if necessary.
- I am the product of 13 years of public schools. Could schools be better? Sure. But they’re better than nothing, and, all things considered, my schools were pretty great. At any rate, I learned stuff. Yay school!
- I like to be able to drive places. I really like being able to drive between states. I really really like being able to get on a road in Maryland (I-90) and stay on it until I hit Utah. My family lives all over the country. Without the interstate system, a difficult trip would become a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
- I like knowing that the elderly, mentally ill, handicapped, and poor are receiving at least a minimum level of care. I like living in a country that says in its legislation that it’s wrong to completely neglect the less fortunate.
- I have zero faith in private enterprise, so I look to the government to make sure our communities run smoothly and that business is conducted legally. The God of Business is the bottom line; businesses only have to do what is going to be profitable to them. Often, they focus on short-term gains (see: clearcutting in the Amazon) rather than long-term effects not directly relevant to their bottom line profits (see: global warming. see: the recent global economic collapse. see: ad infinitum). Because business is inherently without morals that correlate directly to the benefit of human beings, businesses cannot be depended upon to act in ways consistent with a moral system that is concerned with the benefit of human beings. Government, for all its horrible, horrible flaws, is concerned with maintaining communities that do the most good for the most people. At least, it should be. It’s also concerned with allocation of power, just like business, but government is more concerned with public service (or it should be) than with self-service (profitability). Government fails when it confuses itself with private enterprise. Again, please don’t throw rocks at me.
- I believe in a living constitution. I often hear that taxes are unconstitutional, that clearly the founding fathers never meant for citizens to pay taxes. In case you weren’t aware, the constitution, as originally penned, does allow slavery and does not allow women’s suffrage. I believe the inclusion of a national bank or currency was also neglected, but I think using the dollar nationwide has worked out pretty well for us. Eep! Rocks!
Ok, so, I’m sure you don’t necessarily agree with my politics or economics or maybe even my misplaced cynicism. That’s ok. These don’t have to be your reasons. And you don’t have to be happy about paying your taxes. But I am. I like living in a society with other people. Funds are required to maintain that society. It’s like dues to a not-so-exclusive club. I don’t want to pay more taxes, certainly, but I think they’re better than any other option.