The Freak Show: Politics And Taxes Hal B. Selzer April 13, 2011 Columns It’s that time of year, where everyone files their taxes and does their part to pay for our massive government spending. For most people, it’s a matter of figuring out what they get back, since they’ve already paid in through the withholding of money from their paychecks. For those of us who are self-employed, it’s a matter of figuring out what is owed, and usually the painful writing of a check for a big chunk of money to send to Uncle Sam. Taxes have actually been a driving force in American politics since the beginning of our country. In fact, it was the primary cause of our country coming into existence. King George of Britain kept imposing more and more taxes on the colonies, until it became too much to bear. Remember learning about the Boston tea party? That was a revolt against a tax imposed on tea, so the people took things into their own hands and dumped the tea into the ocean rather than pay exorbitant taxes on it. When our founding fathers got together to try and do something about the situation, they had to raise funds for an army to fight the British. So they called for a tax on landowners to fund the war. They didn’t ask for anything for themselves, by the way, as they got very little to cover their own expenses. Unlike today, they were doing it because they thought it was the right thing to do, not because they wanted the high salaries and perks that today’s politicians give themselves. In those times, people gave willingly, or if not willingly, at least realized the necessity of contributing for a cause that needed to be done. Today, that’s not the case. People look for every loophole and opportunity to pay as little as possible, and many cheat to keep their hard-earned money. And who can blame them, the way our government today wastes so much money, and gives it away to friends and politically connected groups to help keep themselves in power? It’s become a joke and a travesty, and will be the ruin of the nation if it’s not dealt with. We need a revolution against our tax system. It’s a scam that fixes it so people don’t realize how much they are actually paying. They get a get a nice refund, and they go away from their tax appointments happy as can be. However, they don’t realize how much they’ve had taken away from them. I have some friends, a couple who do very well—around $300,000 a year—who were thrilled when they got a $5,000 refund. When I pointed out to them that even after the refund, the tax they paid for the year was around $93,000, they were shocked. And at lower income levels it’s the same deal. If you make $50,000, and you get a refund of a few thousand, you’re happy, right? Look at the numbers. You’ve probably paid $10,000 to $12,000 in various taxes. But because you get a check back, you don’t notice. It used to be that when the government needed to do something, it figured out the cost, and then raised the money through a tax. But in modern times, the government spends what it wants, usually what they think will gain them political advantage, with no thought to how to pay for it. Tax rates have been set, and their goal is to lower them so they look good to voters. Of course, that makes the deficit go through the roof. It’s unconscionable the way the politicians have run things. If it was a private business, they would have been bankrupt years ago. The Republicans have constantly called the Democrats the party of “tax and spend.” However, they themselves have become the party of “don’t tax and spend.” That’s how we ended up with record deficits during the recent Bush years. And now all hell has broken loose, with record spending to go along with tax cuts. And all of a sudden these same Republicans are blaming President Obama for the spending that Bush started, such as stimulus payments and bailouts. Is he doing the right thing? No, but it’s the Republicans that set the course and are now pretending to want to reverse it. These Republicans are calling for cuts in spending, yet the cuts are so miniscule in the big picture, and the tax cuts they call for are so big, that they are in essence doing the same thing that’s been going on for years. They are pandering to the public and killing any chance we have of recovering from the massive debt. You may have read that 47 percent of Americans this year will pay no Federal income taxes. And that is true. But it’s a politically motivated statement that doesn’t give the big picture. Those people are still paying a very high percentage of their income to the government compared to the wealthy. The reason is that they are paying social security tax and Medicare tax. These taxes are supposed to be dedicated to the funds they were earmarked for. But in actuality, they just go into the government fund. The Federal government issues an “I.O.U.” to the trust fund, and uses the money for other things. So it may as well just be called a Federal tax, since it all goes to the same place. Since the tax is capped at $106,000, the most anyone can pay in is limited. So a person making millions pays in the same amount as someone making the minimum. And an average person, making around $50,000, pays a higher percentage of his income then multi-millionaires. And self-employed people, such as you musicians out there, really get screwed. You have to pay 15 percent in self-employment tax (social security and Medicare). People with regular jobs only pay 7.5 percent, because their employer pays the other half. If you are a struggling musician, and make, say, $20,000, you have to pay in $3,000 off the top. You tell me, can some trying to live on $20,000 afford to pay $3,000 to the government? The way to get a revolution is to end withholding of taxes, and make everyone write a check on April 15th. When people see how high taxes really are, they will flip out. There will be massive changes in our government because we would vote everyone out of office. Let’s get the revolution started! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.