As The Pendulum Swings

A friend and I were debating about taxes and about living in a society rather than as outlaws and renegades.

She thinks everyone should pay the same tax, regardless of income and I disagree.  It’s not about merit that I agree or disagree.  Certainly there are those who are content to not work and subsist on what they are given or can steal, and there are those who work ceaselessly and still never make enough to even be called ‘middle class’.

I’m not debating about how we got into the mess we’re in, or the ridiculous tax code, although those are issues to deal with – and in fact, form the crux of the solution through true reform rather than lip service and reneging on deals, or perpetual amendments.

My conclusions are based on my personality, and what I’ve been through or witnessed in this world, so of course I’m biased.  Every last one of us is biased depending on our brain structure and/or our life filters.

Corporations should pay a higher tax rate than solitary citizens when they make higher profits, and especially when they are a type of business that uses resources directly, but also indirectly.  We all use our planet for sustenance, but those who use greater resources need to pay to play.  Industries who are reaping greater profits than at any other time in history, such as the oil and gas industries, should not be government ‘welfare recipients’ in the form of subsidies.

My friend argued that someone working harder than others shouldn’t be penalized by having to pay higher taxes, and while I heard her argument, I disagree.  I don’t think the taxes should be burdensome, and I think that higher rates should apply after a certain threshold, but I question what ‘working harder’ means.  If she works for a company that compensates her well, and she was lucky enough – because I do know that some people are in a better position than others through birth or by chance, as she was and is – then that is good for her, but there are others working just as hard, and actually harder than her at multiple jobs that won’t hire full-time workers so they don’t have to pay insurance, and those people are not making nearly the wages she is.  I know she doesn’t want to have to help lazy users as she envisions her tax dollars going, and those people shouldn’t be helped if that’s an honest assessment, but the majority of people are working hard and still not making ends meet.

Those tax dollars do a lot to ease the burden of those trying to better themselves by making education less expensive or having more dollars available to help pay for an education that will help those people get better jobs.  Those tax dollars help keep our food supply safer by having more food inspectors.  Those tax dollars help keep art and music programs available which enrich our lives and broaden our minds as surely as any core subject does, and perhaps even better as art and music stirs our creative selves helping us to bring more to our life as well as others’ lives.

Tax dollars help pave our roads, build bridges, and keep police, firefighters and other local, state and federal workers.  Those tax dollars also help the poor get health services, along with giving the elderly and infirm an income – however meager.

A majority chose this as our social standard when the economy went to hell over half a century ago, and it helped build a middle class in this country that was strong and relatively stable.  When the more cynical and greedy among us got power they instituted deregulation of polluting industries, of banking and securities, as well as giving corporations and the wealthy even more money and power by declaring money as a part of free speech in the horrid FEC v. Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision.

Now some in the Republican party are hell-bent on breaking up unions and trying to send us back as a nation to the robber-baron era of lawless rapaciousness in business and industry.

Democracy is only as strong as its safeguards, and I’ve been noticing a lot more foxes guarding our collective hen-house lately.

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© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.