Friday, April 14, 2006

Our taxing duty

Fear is a great motivator. We use it against children to keep them in line. Bill collectors use it against us so that we'll keep making payments, and our doctor uses it so that we will stop our death-defying lifestyle.
However, I do not believe that our government should use it to get us to pay our taxes. It works, but just because something works doesn't necessarily make it morally right.
Your taxes are due on Monday. I say "yours" because I've already filed mine, and if you haven't filed yours, it's either because you procrastinated too long, you owe a lot of money or you just plain don't understand the tax code. But the basic reason you're going to pay is because you're afraid not to. You've already had money deducted from your paycheck every week, but it may not be enough. If it's too much, chances are you've already filed, but if you owe, you live in fear until the check clears.
One thing I know for certain is that on the Monday 11 o'clock news, the lead story will be herds of frightened taxpayers standing in line at the post office, waiting so that they'll get their returns postmarked before midnight. How pathetic.
This isn't one of those deals where you can turn up the volume on the car radio and make the squeaking noise go away. The government is relentless, and if you don't file, they will hunt you down and make your life a living Hell - if it isn't already. If it is, we could say they're "piling on."
However, I do wonder why the system has to be so intricate. I took a taxation course in college, and the textbook was thick, heavy and complex. Why? Because there are more loopholes, dodges and caveats than any other activity. It's easier to fill out a mortgage application than it is to complete your taxes - and at least with the mortgage, you have a nice home when you're finished. When you fill out your tax forms, you feel drained, abused and worried that you may have made a mistake.
I don't think that the government should have to use fear to get people to do something. And we certainly shouldn't have to go to a professional to file our taxes. Any paperwork that needs a paid professional is too complicated. The average American worker should be able to fill out a tax form and send it in without perspiring. Our lives are hard enough without having our government making it harder.


Carmen said...

I think we should get to make note of where we want our money spent! :) I don't want my tax dollars paying for, say, $400 toilet seats. :)

Anthony said...

No, not unless the stuff that they're putting in it is worth that much!
The best explanation for the "$500 screwdriver" occurs in the film Independence Day, when they lead President Bill Pullman down into the hanger where the ailen spacecraft is held.