Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Me & Taxes

Back in 2008, soon after Obama's election as President, I wrote this post.  Well, here's a kind of repeat of that same post with a few minor modifications, focusing more upon the issue of taxation:

First of all, before I say anything more, I must say that I do recognize there are A LOT of different perspectives out there, each with their own legitimate and personal issues at stake, and I also recognize many of those perspective out there, they do not pertain to me.

Because of those in my family who came before me, foremost, and the efforts of my own parents with their combined educations and cultural and familial backgrounds, their places of employment and their earning power, we could always afford to live in places with good neighborhoods, where I always had access to a backyard and plenty of playmates to run around with, and I always had a parent at home with me during my school years. And because we always lived in good neighborhoods with a mother at home, I had no problems achieving a solid education via the public schools I attended in Salt Lake City, UT, Billings, MT, and Cedar Rapids, IA. Nor did I ever have any problems seeking and attaining a higher education, including a masters degree.

Not ever was I denied proper health care as a child. As an adult, I have never been unable to seek and attain proper health care, always able to afford it, having always reaped the benefits of fantastic health insurance programs via the places of my employment. Overall, I have never been unable to receive the care I need, whether it be medical or therapeutic or even psychological in nature.

I have also never been denied public services of any kind based upon either my ethnicity or my socioeconomic status, nor because I simply did not know what was available to me.

I have never been unable to feed myself. I have always enjoyed clean drinking water and clean bathing water and proper sewage treatment. I have always lived with a roof over my head, cool in the summers and warm in the winters, with more than enough clothing to cover my backside however way I want to cover it.

I have never had to give up a child out of wedlock or for any other reason, nor have I ever had to raise a child by myself.

I have never been a victim of violent public crime.

This list could go on and on and on... My point thus far is this: I count myself to be a very fortunate person in this world; ALL of my basic needs in life, they have all been met.

Moreover, I have more than enough in my life, so much so, I can actually acquire things I WANT, beyond basic need... I call these things the 'Luxuries in Life,' such as the following: Cars, cell phones, TVs, DVDs, mp3s and CDs, music players, make-up and nail polish, smelly bubble bath and scented body scrubs, books to read, paints to paint crafty things, knitting supplies, a hefty, an impressive heavy duty sewing machine, THIRTEEN different pairs of black shoes [flat mary janes, Dansko clogs, flat sandals, 2 pairs of wedge heel Sofft sandals, sling back high heels, 2 different pairs of dress wedge heels, zip-up ankle boots, lace-up boots, and a pair of winter-weather Goretex boots], trips out of state, ski trips to Keystone, airfare to anywhere, multiple hand bags and multiple purses [I can't even attempt to count those], a gazillion jackets and coats [paisley ski coat, plus an extra red ski coat, black pea coat, red pea coat, blue raincoat, orange windbreaker, denim jacket, khaki jacket, red trench, woolen tweed trench, light cotton gray hoodie, dark gray sweatshirt hoodie, woolen Irish hooded cardigan, blue pullover fleece, red fleece vest, pink fleece vest, black quilted ski vest, wine-colored blazer, etc. etc.], new light fixtures to match our living room lamps, a 6-cushion couch that has a queen size hide-a-bed, matching wool-woven couch pillows, a Kitchen Aid mixing machine, a blender, a food processor, a mini-food processor, a waffle iron, a heart-shaped waffle iron, a potato ricer, a lime squeezer, a nutmeg grater... you get the point? This list, it too, could go on and on and on... And none of the aforementioned items are in any way essential to life. They are all WANTS; none of them are truly needs. 

Have I earned these aforementioned luxuries? Well, I can afford them, yes... and so, does that mean I've earned them? I've worked hard to be able to afford these things. Mind you, many have been given to me as well, and my honey-man and I, we have bought some things together... so I certainly haven't acquired all these things all on my own, and I wouldn't have any of them without certain basics having come first. But I DO gots allll the basics: the basics of life are not an issue for me, see? And do we make more than $100K a year? Hell no.

So, about the issue of proposing tax hikes for those making however-much, $$$,$$$+ or more a year? and whether or not that would be fair?  Are you kidding me?  This is a question when the majority of U.S. citizens carry the greatest tax burden, so disproportionately? Simply put, my issue is there are more people out there who are living 'without' than with.  Not just people who are struggling to make ends meet, but people who are truly suffering; there are millions of people who's needs are not being met. And with all the wealth in the world, how can this be?

SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: When I was an active Mormon, I paid 10% of my income as a tithe to the LDS Church, no questions asked. I used to think of it as my way of helping out, doing my part to better society and my fellowmen and fellow church members. And now? Although no longer active in the LDS church, I still think I should be helping out, especially when my own needs are met well beyond need. Now, taxes, they have always been a part of how I contribute to the 'general effort,' so they're a given; I have no other choice and I don't have control over how my tax dollars are spent, although I never had control over how the LDS Church spent my tithing money either. Am I getting off point? My point: I don't mind paying taxes = It's how I contribute. I do more than that to 'contribute' though, directly dolling out a couple thousand $ a year to charities I choose, plus the volunteer time I give to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Cancer Society. But the tax money? I can't mind the taxes when my own needs are met.

I have tried to imagine what my life would be like if we made $$$,$$$ a year... and man, the excess is truly hard to imagine, although I'm certain we'd find ways to spend it, especially if and when we add to our family. It's easy to spend money when you have it. It's hard to say how we would feel about a higher tax rate if we made over $$$,$$$, even though that amount would place us in a totally different tax bracket, levels above where we are now. I think we honestly couldn't mind it though --the higher tax rate, I mean-- and that's because fundamentally, speaking of myself and my honey-man, we believe that people are meant to take care of each other, and we should help take care of others, and that means EVERYONE who's in need whether they're working hard for their daily bread or living off the system, even if it means taking more away from what I've worked so hard to earn for myself.  That's fine with me because I already have more than enough.

For a couple years now, I've been trying really hard to dwell daily upon how grateful I am -or should be- for all that we have, and all the good fortune of my family and friends, and to also be grateful for those things that I don't want that I don't have. I'm hopeful that such continued focus will further lighten my load.

oh yeah, and this global economy and the state of our nation? I'd like to be hopeful, but I think that until powerful higher ups quit trying to line their coffers at the expense of others, the gap between the poor man and the rich man will further widen, and our people as a majority will suffer more and more.


RzDrms said...

I could've written this post myself almost verbatim. LIKE! Nay...LOVE!

Anonymous said...

This was so well written. Thanks for the read!

- Kashmir