Monday, February 27, 2017

A Taxing Time


It’s that time of the year when we meet with our tax guy. To prepare, I take out a used manila envelope stuffed with receipts from 2016 and start to sort them out. It’s a nice contrast to all the screen time, handling these thin little crinkly, wrinkled receipts and remembering what concert I went to, what CD or book I bought. It’s a funky system, but it works and makes me feel good that I still buy books and CD’s and support the authors and artists who create them, still go to concerts and such. And in my simple world of a lowly paid music teacher, it’s nickel and dime stuff—$6 for this book, $18 for that CD, $24 for that concert, all part of my ongoing professional development. I’m meticulously adding long strings of numbers to get my tiny tax break and at the end, the whole year’s worth probably adds up to some Wall St. mogul’s lunch which his expense account pays for.

I actually believe in taxes as a means to pay for the plethora of government services I enjoy—from fixing the potholes in the road to keeping the libraries open to supporting (up to a point) the military to contributing to health care to, top of my list, supporting public education. But now I’m thinking of this guy leading the charge who refuses to reveal his taxes, who publicly calls himself smart on a national debate because he didn’t pay much (if any) tax to the government he’s supposedly running and who wants to increase military spending by 52 billion dollars. That’s 52 BILLION. I’m still sweating about buying a new pair of $60 mallets for school every two years and now I’m supposed to contribute to a 52 billion dollar INCREASE over an already over-inflated military budget, some to create more nuclear weapons which will most certainly hasten our demise.

That doesn’t feel good.

I know it’s a long shot, like the class prank where all the kids are supposed to do something at the same time like turn around and pull down their pants and moon the teacher. If everyone does it, no one will get in trouble. But when the critical moment comes, everyone secretly backs down and that one trusting kid is left alone with his pants down. But my friends, what if millions of us simply refused to pay taxes until:

1)    The President reveals his.
2)    Corporations and billionaires are forced to pay their fair share.
3)    Military spending decreases by a small amount (by their standards) and gives the money to education.
4)    Pigs fly.

Anyone with me? 1-2-3- withhold!! Aw, come on!

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