Monday, February 7, 2011

Why I'm Glad I Pay Taxes

I’m glad I pay taxes. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Am I insane? Well, maybe. Don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t find a job for a while after I graduated college. I’d spent a lot of money going through school, so much that I had to borrow some more. I was a little worried about that, but I figured, hey, at least I’ll be able to find a sweet job and build a sweet career, buy a spouse and a car and a dog and all that. When I got my job serving coffee in a café, I was relieved; all that interest was starting to pile up! You can imagine my disconcert when I opened my first check, earned from two weeks straight on my feet, and discovered that $100 had gone to taxes. Holy moley! I was only making $9 an hour. I was pretty angry, but now, not only have I begrudgingly accepted the inevitability of my lower station in life, I embrace it and the implication of having one-sixth of my money turned over to taxes.

Think about it. If we didn’t pay taxes, where would the state get the money to keep the floors of the state government buildings shiny and gleaming? Nowhere, that’s where. And catered lunches to politicians? Forget about it. Anyway, when I had pondered the system over long and hard, I came to some very soothing conclusion that my little portion handed over for the greater good – for the wealthy political elite of Washington and my state capital to be able to do their jobs in comfort and style – may seem like a lot to me, but it’s really nothing for them, anyway.

I mean, the meager sum of cash flowing from my paycheck to the state coffers doesn’t really pay their salaries. Well, it does. So do sales taxes and loans from the Chinese. But when I see them on TV, with their tailored suits, and I wonder what kind of cars they drive, and whether my state representatives regularly take the Acela to Washington, I feel comforted knowing that their large houses and their children’s private schooling doesn’t come from my taxes at all. Those things come from campaign contributions and their investments in companies that use Chinese slave labor to assemble raw materials from Africa.

That’s a relief. So my taxes are just paying for law enforcement and the library, and keeping the state buildings clean. I can rest easy. Obviously, people who are elected to office do so for a burning sense of civic responsibility. I can only imagine the overwhelming compassion and kindness that colors their very souls.

Sometimes, when I have to face another day with dread and underwhelming inertia, flavored with a hint of simmering rage, I think, at least those people enter their offices each day confidently, cheerfully, with a sense of purpose. They wouldn’t spend any time getting paid with public money to take naps at their desks or Twittering or check out Facebook or take really long lunch breaks. They work hard every day. They are making sure that our government is being run efficiently. Like the Swedes. They wouldn’t steal pats of butter from their employers, the public, the way we dregs do.

What people like me and you need to realize is, the people who have power arrived at their power because they are better than you and me. It is thoroughly natural and just that those who have the moxie and spunk to extract natural resources from Latin American countries should have every right to be deified by our society, lead opulent lifestyles, and be placed in charge of the administration of public resources. It’s also very natural that politicians who receive large amounts of money from financial and commercial interests would be placed into office by shmucks like us who wouldn’t be smart or kind enough to fulfill these roles. And it’s even more natural that we should pay for it by working at overpriced restaurants that these people go to for brunch on Sundays.

I hope these musings have helped soothe someone else’s discomfort with the way our great system works. Don’t worry, poor citizen. Your bitterness stems from total ignorance, and the fact you are a bad person. Have faith that those your taxes are paying truly, somehow, help make this country better, even though it seems like it’s getting worse. Now if you’ll excuse me, my cat and I were just going to cross-dress and smear lipstick all over our faces while staring maniacally into a mirror.

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