Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The happy taxpayer

I've been away from the news of the world for a couple of days, thinking about other things. It was a nice respite.

But back to the world of politics.

I see that our politicians are still wrangling over taxes, specifically the so-called Bush tax cuts, and that the Republicans' new buzzword is "uncertainty." Every Republican you see on TV or hear on radio uses that word in practically every sentence. Uncertainty bad! Furthermore, uncertainty equals Obama.

They claim that the economy isn't growing and recovering faster (from the ditch they drove it into) because businesses are "uncertain" about their taxes. They don't know whether they will have to pay more taxes because the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire as the law presently requires.

President Obama and most Democrats want to extend the tax cuts that apply to the middle class but they want the ones that apply to people and businesses earning more than $250,000 a year in taxable income to expire. Just to restate that, an individual or a business having taken all the exemptions and deductions that the law allows and still having a net income of more than a quarter of a million dollars would not get further tax breaks under the president's plan.

And the Republicans will cry, "But that affects small businesses and they shouldn't have to pay more!" Well, in my world, a business that is so successful that it nets more than a quarter of a million dollars a year is scarcely what I think of as a small business, and, even if it is, it doesn't need any more tax breaks. It is doing quite well, thank you, and needs to pay its fair share.

I make considerably less than $250,000 a year - gross, much less net - but I pay my taxes happily each year. I can't go and protect my country from terrorists who would attack us or stand outside eight hours a day building highways and bridges or protecting my community from fires and natural disasters or from criminals. But I can pay my taxes to help fund all those things and to pay the people who can do them. It's just a part of the social contract and I am happy to honor it. I don't even request a reduction in my taxes. I think what I pay is pretty fair. And I think those people who are earning more than a quarter of a million dollars, net, each year need to pay their share with a smile as well and their Republican friends need to quit trying to lower their taxes to zero.

I'm quite sure though that that isn't going to happen. When it comes to Republicans and taxes, there is no uncertainty at all. They hate them and they don't want to pay them. They also don't believe in social contracts.

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