By Dale Lucht
I hate writing. Coming up with an idea for an article is excruciating. I’d rather have root canal than sit down and write a story. I would rather sit around all day and pontificate about the state of affairs than sit and put two clear sentences down on a piece of paper. I remember that Ayn Rand wrote in one her books about ideas. The protagonist was staring at the end of his cigarette, and he said something about inspiration coming out of embers on the end of a cigarette. Focus is what I lack; maybe I should start smoking again. But, have you seen the price of tobacco now? If I still smoked, I would be growing it in my backyard.
I will be getting to an article soon, if I stop procrastinating. I’ve got to do something about that one of these days. Back to my process. I usually get enough ideas and I like to turn a phrase and also have a word or two that not commonly used, such as frotage. That’s the skeleton of my articles, but I can’t start writing until I get a “Hook”. That is what I call the beginning of an article. So, the hook for this article is that I hate writing.
And now I get to my article. Specifically I hate taxes, I hate writing about taxes and I hate paying taxes. However, I recognize that we have to pay taxes to support our society and our government. There are some groups like the Tea Party that think that the federal government is too big, and taxes too much, and spends too much. What they haven’t addressed is who is going to pick up what the federals let drop.
What is the function of a national government? Protection from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Make sure we have clean air, clean water, and safe food and drugs. I also believe that we should have access to adequate housing and affordable health care. We should also have protection for the less fortunate among us. We should have no hindrance to our right to vote.
To provide this, our government has many types of taxes. Income Tax is the tax that we think of at this time of year. I assume everybody knows how this works. The low income pay the least and the higher income pay the most. Unfortunately a lot of the affluent have more tax loopholes they can use to avoid paying taxes.
Sales tax is another tax that is in common usage. Whatever you buy, taxes are paid-except for fresh food in Wisconsin. Again I believe that this hits the poor more severely. There are some that want to replace the income tax with a federal sales tax.
Property tax is another tax that is used to pay for city and county expenses. If my house is twice as expensive as your house I pay twice what you pay in property taxes, even though the police and fire protection is the same. My biggest complaint about property taxes is that they tax you on what they believe the future worth of your property will be.
What I would like to do about property taxes is that when you buy a house, you pay a sales tax to the city and your future taxes are based on that value at the time of sale. If you make any additions or remodel, the valuation on your house is adjusted. Assuming you live in your house 40 years, and you are paying your original valuation tax or an adjusted one for improvements, you should be sitting pretty well, especially if you paid your house off after 30 years. Now if you are getting too old to live in your house and have to sell, then sales taxes would be paid on the current value.
Another form of taxes are the user taxes. Some believe that we can reduce other taxes and increase this one. The people using the product would be the ones that actually pay. Gas tax, tobacco tax and alcohol tax already have a user tax on them. If you use a toll road that is a user tax. One could argue that alimony is a user tax. Our sewer and water are a user tax. Garbage pickup is a user tax even though it’s paid through our property tax. We could increase taxes on computer time, or TV, or toilet paper. I believe, though, that it is still an unfair load on the poor.
I don’t believe that we need to find creative new ways to tax people; what we have to do is to get those not paying taxes to pay them. I’m talking about corporate shirkers. If you want to use a user tax on them, go for it. Every time they drive on the road have them pay a road fee. Every time they use the computer there is a surcharge. The NSA should be able to handle that. One can do a lot of creative taxation but it comes down to one idea. Corporations use our roads, use our water, use our snow removal, and by God make them pay for it. If they don’t want to pay taxes then don’t let them sell their products in this country. I guarantee you that they will pay.
Once we collect the taxes, what do we do with them. Right now we waste a large amount. Why are we the policemen of the world? If we have an Air Force, why do the Army, Navy and Marines have planes? Why does gigantic multi-national agribusinesses get tax breaks? Why do huge corporate farms get tax breaks? Why do multinational energy corporations get tax breaks? Unfortunately the answer is that they buy congress-lock, stock and barrel. My senator is going to be elected more easily if he gets $50,000.00 from the Koch brothers than if I give him $5.00.
What can we do? Vote! As they say in Chicago, “Vote early and vote often”. I don’t quite mean it the same way as they do. By early, I mean vote in the primaries. If you don’t like who is running in November, that person is decided in the spring election. Also, judges are often elected in the spring elections. These are the people deciding whether voter suppression laws are legal.
By voting often I mean don’t just vote in presidential election years. Vote especially in census years. The winners get to gerrymander congressional seats. Remember 2010 when the Republicans took control of Wisconsin’s House and Senate, and also elected Scott Walker to the Governorship and Ron Johnson to the US Senate? Personally I can’t comprehend how anyone can believe they’ve done a good job.
Now that we have entered the Age of Aquarius we are supposed to be more cooperative and less individualistic. One of the benefits would be that more women will be elected to office. I’m assuming that if there had been more women in Congress we wouldn’t have gone into Iraq. I also assume that women would work harder to find a consensus. We may also have Hillary Clinton run for President again. We already have Tammy Baldwin as our other Senator. In Wisconsin we also have Mary Burke running for Governor. I don’t know much about her but she has my vote, considering who she will be running against. I can’t imagine anyone worse than Scott Walker-other than Ted Cruz. Thank God he’s from Canada and not from Wisconsin.