Friday, March 11, 2011

This is how you do a tax protest

Like many Americans, I've been doing my taxes. Let me start by laying a few things on the line.

• I fully accept that paying taxes is one of the responsibilities of those who live in a civilized society.

• I am perfectly willing to pay taxes in order to help the government do all the things it does.

• Knowing that the US has some of the lowest tax rates of any advanced country in the world, I have always found claims that our taxes are too high to be ludicrous.

• I nevertheless claim all the exemptions I am entitled to. This year, that means I am itemizing what will likely end up totaling more than $14,000 worth of out-of-pocket medical expenses for my family. That's what we had to pay last year even though we have health insurance. The part of that which exceeds 7.5% of my income is tax deductible.

• When this is all finished, I will still have paid thousands of dollars last year to the federal government, to the state of Texas in the form of sales taxes, and to McLennan county in the form of property taxes. I am a major taxpayer, and I'm entitled to expect something in return.

In fact, I am considerably more entitled to help determine how my money is spent than are ExxonMobil, General Electric, Bank of America and Citigroup, all of which paid $0 in federal taxes last year.

I am also entitled to get quite indignant at a chart like the following, which shows how many things I care deeply about—as should anyone with a conscience—are being slashed to allow wealthy corporations and billionaires even greater tax breaks than they were already receiving.

And, when I find that the state of Michigan is planning to raise taxes on poor people and the elderly and give the proceeds directly to billionaires, without using any of it to address the budget deficit that people keep complaining about,, I am entitled to say that our country has lost its moral balance completely.


Fortunately, UKUncut, which I wrote about here recently, has come to the US. If you think what I'm describing here is deeply immoral—if it offends you at the gut level that the rich are pulling all the levers of government power in order to take money away from the poor, and are even willing to depose elected officials in order to do it (see the video if you don't believe me), please join me in clicking on the first of my links and affirming your support for the real tea party: the one that is not a bought and paid subsidiary of Fox News, and hence actually deserves our support.


  1. Well, I could add tax exemptions for churches and mortgage interest tax deduction, but that may get me in trouble here.

    The customary retort by the anti-tax crowd is "You're free to send in more of your income if you don't feel you've paid enough taxes."

    My reply is "You're free to move to Sudan if you want to live in a country with low taxes and crappy government services."

  2. @Joel, I have to tell you that I'm a WASP, and I'll admit I'm a spoiled suburbanite, and a conservative evangelical (sort of). But, you are so clearly right in what you say here about mortgage interest, that even someone as obtuse as me :o) AGREES with you totally. Like so many other tax laws, Schedule A helps the rich. I have mixed feelings about special tax treatment for religious organizations ("separation....." ya know). But, they get such a sweet deal on property tax... Do you know how many residences in Ellis County house charitable organizations? We're such do-good-ers around here. lol.