Taxman (Voodoo Economics -4)

No one likes paying taxes–even the Beatles had a song against the “Taxman.”

Yet, someone has to pay for the services government provides.  Voodoo economics has waged a war against taxes for nearly thirty years.  It is now considered unpatriotic to pay taxes.  Taxes are called a penalty for success.

The rich should pay more taxes because they have more money.

The rich also benefit more from the services government provides.  The largest recipient of tax money is the military.  The armed services protect us all, but oil companies, power plants, and large corporations have more assets to protect than I do, so they should pay more for the protection.

A curious thing has happened over the last twenty to thirty years.  States have turned to gambling–first lotteries, then dog and pony races, now casinos–as an alternative to taxes.  Conservative, pro-family religious leaders used to campaign against gambling, but they have focused their energies on other foes while the gambling lobby has slipped in the back door.

In Wyandotte County, where I grew up, there is an abandoned dog and horse track.  When lotteries failed to raise enough revenue the state legislature bet on race-track betting.  The track is now grown up with weeds.  After the failure of the state-sponsored horse raises, a NASCAR track was built, not to bring in gambling money but to attract those who are genuinely interested in the car races.  Around the track a shopping and restaurant district has sprung up and the economy has been revitalized.

Now plans have been announced to build a casino overlooking the race track.  I am afraid the casinos will bring crime and drive out the good restaurants and shops; but maybe not.  Whether gambling brings any general prosperity or not, we know it will bring bankruptcies, divorces, and suicides. So great is the aversion to raising taxes that our leaders are willing to pay that price.  I’m betting the casinos will turn out to be a losing proposition.

3 Responses

  1. I do no object to paying taxes. I do not object to paying taxes in my town. The taxes provide local services and upkeep the infrastructure.

    I do not object to paying state taxes. Those taxes provide for schools and state services .

    But I do think USA is too big to be taxed as a country. Each state is so different and has different needs.

    The whole of UK could fit into California.

  2. Interesting perspective. Most of what we actually see–schools, roads, etc., comes from state or local taxes. Our federal taxes buy go to the military and “pork” that is sent back to the states for local projects.

    California is not threatening to secede, is it?

  3. I don’t believe there is any plan or proposal for California to secede!

    After all the years I’ve lived here, I am still amazed at how vast USA is.

    I enjoy reading blogs written by people from other states. But sometimes I think each state is a ‘foreign’ country, ‘foreign’ to other states.

    But then, Berkeley, is in its own world!

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