I will preface this by saying I am not well-researched in the areas of politics, national financing, or whatever actually goes into this mess, in the United States or elsewhere.
But I think it might be worth mentioning my thoughts on a few things, based on personal experiences, and some things I’ve heard that just… don’t make a lot of sense.
Taxes aren’t inherently bad.
The word “tax” in itself has come to have largely negative connotations–if you’re being “taxed” by something, you’re being weighed down or put upon. We have classic examples of people, like the Sheriff of Nottingham from the Robin Hood stories, who abuse taxes.
In a truly ironic state of affairs, my dad is adamantly against any kind of raise in taxes, but he also works for the state of Minnesota, and part of our taxes are what pay his own wages.
But if taxes are being abused, for things like… oh, say, a giant wall, or a football stadium… then, yeah, I wholeheartedly understand the aversion.
I don’t think anyone is ever entirely sure what taxes are used for, but there’s obviously some mismanagement going on somewhere, and that’s the bad thing. Taxes themselves? They have some truly positive possibilities.
Let’s just, for the sake of imagination, pretend that a perfect world is possible. What should taxes, in a perfect world (and my opinion) be used for?
- Protecting/conserving the environment
- Researching and developing important new innovations in energy, transportation, and health (cure for cancer, anyone?)
- Providing/maintaining a basic standard of health and well-being for everyone
- Paying first responders, health professionals, and peace-keepers
- Educating people well
- Preserving culture by investing in arts, museums, libraries, archives, and community centers
- Community improvements, like road construction, parks & rec, etc.
- Providing some kind of safety net and/or rehabilitation programs for those who are out of work and/or homeless. (This would include retirement, and being out of work due to an injury, veteran benefits, and other things of that nature, in addition to being in a bad situation for other reasons.)
Some people are really put out by the thought of providing for others. Which… I get, to some extent. At the moment, it’s hard to fathom providing for myself, let alone anyone else in the country–but that’s because a lot of things in “the system” are broken. They’re not being used the way they should.
If I had the peace of mind that came with guaranteed good health, the basic ability to learn the things I need to know without being in debt for the foreseeable future, and the reassurance that life as we know it wasn’t on its way to being toasted out of the Earth like a bad virus, I would happily give away a third or more of my income for the rest of my life.
In a perfect world, what would your taxes be used for?
What would you be willing to provide, to make your own life and the lives of others easier?