Friday, April 15, 2011

"Raise our taxes, please!"

Happy Tax Day!

Only it actually isn't Tax Day this year. Because of a holiday celebrated in the District of Columbia, all taxpayers get an automatic extension on the due date of their taxes until Monday, April 18. In my household, though, we don't need no stinking extension! We paid our taxes on the traditional Tax Day, today. Didn't even wait until 11:59 P.M. as we have in some years.

I do consider it a patriotic duty to pay the taxes that I owe, which is why I so deeply resent those who use every excuse and every loophole to wriggle out of fulfilling that duty. My observation is that, generally speaking, such people are a lot more wealthy and a lot more able to pay their fair share of taxes than my household, which sharpens my resentment even more.

Because of this, I was very happy and a little surprised this week to read about the Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength. This is a group of some of the wealthiest Americans who came together last year during the fight over the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. They jumped into the fray on the side of those who said the tax cuts should be allowed to expire. As the budget battles continue, they are redoubling their efforts, with letters to President Obama, Sen. Harry Reid, and Rep. John Boehner which read, in part:

"For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000. We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned incomes of $1,000,000 per year or more."


These people have what used to be admired as a social conscience. They see our failing infrastructure, the inadequate educational system, the poorly funded social services and they know that this is not the kind of society that they want for their children and grandchildren. Further, they know that the only way to fix these problems is with money and that the way that the government gets the money to deal with such issues is through taxes. And so they say, "Raise our taxes, please!"

There are plenty of selfish people in our society and they are well-represented in Congress. They want all the money they can get, even if it means "drowning government in a bathtub" and the rest of the population be damned. It is especially refreshing, then, to find that they do not speak for all millionaires. Even a millionaire can have an altruistic love for his/her country and a willingness to sacrifice for it. That is the essence of true patriotism.

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