Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Death and Taxes

Having just finished paying my 2009 taxes, not without penalty, I might add, and having run into a couple of articles and a blog on the subject, a rant about taxes seems in order.

Taxes are the price one pays for civilization.  If you don't like paying taxes, I can suggest several countries that are tax free, relatively speaking. Somalia comes to mind. Ukraine and Russia also but not paying taxes here comes with a twist - cross the government and they audit you.

Most of the civilized world is governed under what are known as Social Democracies.  Which is to say, the citizens expect and receive services from their governments which are deemed to be in the public good, which are, if not more efficiently delivered, certainly more effectively and equitably delivered than by the private sector.

Europeans are derided by some as paying high taxes BUT they get reasonable value for their money.  Happy Tax Day, in the April 16th Globalist provided the following explanation:

Whatever Europe’s shortcomings, the fact is that, in return for their taxes, Europeans do receive a generous support system for families and individuals — services for which Americans must often pay exorbitant, out-of-pocket fees.

That includes quality health care for every single person, the average cost of which is about half of what Americans pay, even as various studies show that Europeans achieve better health results.
But that's not all. In return for their taxes, Europeans also are receiving affordable childcare, a decent retirement pension, free or inexpensive university education, job retraining, paid sick leave, paid parental leave, ample vacations, affordable housing, senior care, efficient mass transportation and more.

Americans are notorious for not wanting to pay taxes, which can be traced back to British taxes being used to pay British soldiers who prevented Americans from doing what they wanted (mainly steal more land from the Indians).  Canadians seem less reluctant to pay taxes as the British used our tax money to protect us from the Americans.

Utah Savage in her blog on Real Americans explains why average Repugnicans hate taxes - they all think that they too are someday going to be billionaires and don't want to share their imaginary future wealth.  it is the American Dream - work hard and you too can get very rich.  Some have done it.  Of course some have run the four-minute mile too.

Now Americans pay a fair bit of taxes, directly and indirectly.  But what do they get for them?  They get to pay interest on trillions of dollars of debt.  That is why tax and spend (pay as you go) is out of favour with the very rich, while borrowing and spending is in.  You borrow money from and pay interest to those who have money.  The wealthy love wealth redistribution - as long as they are on the receiving end (that is another blog).

You also get to finance foreign wars to keep your empire together (one of the sources of the trillions in debt).  Along with over 800 military bases.  American empire building foreign policy has earned you the enmity of a great deal of the world and mad America less secure than ever.  Good value for your money there.  And of course, billions to bail out banks, so the very rich can continue to get very richer.

But where do spending cuts come from?  Education, Social Safety Nets, Roads, Street Lights.  This article quoted from a NY Times article highlights the things Americans will no longer be getting for their tax money.

It really sounds more like pre-revolutionary Russia where the taxes of the peasants (officially no longer serfs) went to support the lifestyle of the nobility and the military adventures of the Tsar.  Are you sure you live in a democracy?


  1. D**m it, Blog Fodder; I hate it when you read my mind, and then publish my thoughts ahead of me.

    Good post, though!

    And I really like "Repugnicans," as in "pugnacious." Good word for people who are always picking fights. I hadn't thought of that word. You're very good with words. Even big words!

  2. Stole it from Demeur. Root word is repugnant.

  3. But now we've exposed two roots.

    If we took those out, would the Repugnicans be rootless? I suspect so.

  4. Sounds about right to me. Enjoying our blog.

  5. See this is what I need you to say.
    Extremely good.
    Now if you don't mind I would like to link to this. It's a real eye opener.

  6. Sure, Tim, you can link to it. I'm far enough away that they can't get me without hiring a (cheap) hit man.

  7. Correction you didn't get that from me. I call them rethuglicans.

    On another note I just heard last night that Canadians live 5 years longer than Americans. Damn the taxes Canada is looking better all the time. At least you get something for your money.

  8. Another reason why we entertain the thought of moving to Europe every once in a while.

  9. PN, you mean you are NOT a "dinosaurs wore saddles, Bush was a hero" person. What kind of Albertan are you?

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