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Commentary :: Politics
Why Is It the Taxpayers Job To Do That?
30 Jan 2013
There's a whole variety of things our taxes pay for in this country. Although it's become popular to question the wisdom of taxes, most agree, when you get down to it, a nation just can't function without taxes. Ours certainly can't. Often the people complaining the loudest about big government are the same people decrying any cuts to the military and crying out for increased funding of it. Therein is a good example of the push and pull kind of tension; the love hate relationship in our nation with the idea of taxes that has been there from the very birth of the United States of America.
There are a great many things our taxes go towards, we would be hard pressed to do without. Take emergency services, as an example. There are quite a lot of problems with law enforcement in terms of corruption, bigotry and ineptitude, though we still need the good ones. We also need our firefighters risking their lives day in and day out. We need healthcare workers staffing the many state run health care facilities, without which we could have serious problems taking care of the mentally ill and other people in need of care and without adequate resources.

We certainly need the money for infrastructure, as how else would we take care of the very roads our children travel to school on every day? How else would we ensure the highways we take daily back and forth to work remained free of dangerous potholes and other potential hazards? How else would we ensure the sidewalks pedestrians traverse remain walkable and safe for us to walk the dogs on, plus safe for kids to ride their bicycles on? Without those taxes we would have no way to make safe all the roads we must navigate in the face of inclement weather.

Without those taxes, retired seniors without the wherewithal to support themselves would become homeless. They would not be able to pay for many of their medications. After the many years they have paid into the system, they deserve a little help themselves. After all, it was their taxes that helped support most of us through school. It was their taxes that even helped extend loans for those of us fortunate enough to attend college.

And that's another thing - education. The very future of our nation depends on education, and people from all across the country, and all walks of life are now realizing just how vital this is to our future and how much we've taken it for granted. Right now, we are reliant upon foreign workers to fill many of the jobs requiring highly educated workers to be able to perform them. That's because we are doing a poor job of educating our children here. We need these kids to be competitive in the future, so they can fill not only jobs here, but so that the people running this nation, making the decisions in this nation and that we rely on for innovation have a chance at remaining American.

We should have a workforce that from the bottom to the very top can compete with other nations. Right now that isn't the case. If we keep getting foreign workers to do our top jobs, we will only be empowering them to take what they learn here about how to do those jobs and run those industries, and take them back home. Sooner or later they will gain the wherewithal to surpass us in those industries. Just because they can't today, doesn't mean they won't be able to tomorrow.

We should be putting more money towards educating our children, as is the case with so many other nations, like many in Asia, for example. It is paying dividends for them, as they are producing better educated children that in turn become better educated adults, in turn helping to raise the standards of living in the nation for all levels of society.

We think of ourselves as the nation with perhaps the greatest roads and highways, and we certainly are better than many poorer nations. But, when it comes to how we stand as a developed western nation and what we get for our investment, we aren't looking so worthy of our "world leader status." In fact, the president-elect of the American Society of Civil Engineers put it this way in Businessweek, regarding whether or not the previous grade of "D" they gave our nation in previous years would stand as of 2013, "We haven't really invested additional money, so I would be hard-pressed to believe that the grade would improve. Not everything is falling apart -- you can find examples of agencies spending money. But the D represents an overall condition of America's infrastructure.

"The report card isn't saying we don't spend money on infrastructure; it's saying that based on what we spend and the information we get from the public agencies themselves, we should be spending a greater amount. As civil engineers, we feel we are stewards of the infrastructure. It's what we know best. It's just like a doctor telling you that you have a heart condition. We're taking it to the concrete and saying 'America, you have a mortar and bricks problem with your infrastructure.'" (

There are places American children cannot even walk to school without having to fear assault, rape, getting shot, drugs, etc and what is it we spend our money on instead?

One of the biggest wastes of cash is the vast sums of money we spend on overseas foreign bases. When questioned, our leaders keep repeating the line, "it's to protect American interests." By that of course they refer to large corporations doing business overseas. That's what it means today and what it has always meant.

But, what does the protection of those corporations over there have to do with our tax dollars? Take all the oil corporations. They are private companies doing business in another land. While there they don't ship American workers over there to do the work. Aside from one or two upper level management jobs they employ the cheapest labor they can find from the poorest nations in the world. The work they do there is not located in America, so they pay hardly any if any taxes back to us on it. Why are we being forced to foot the bill for huge foreign bases to protect them?

They make trillions. They can afford to pay some large private security company to protect them. It isn't our job to look after their oil. We don't benefit from that one cent, they do. We don't bust our butts at the workplace day in and day out for organizations located overseas. Take the bases in East Asia. We keep hearing the line it's to protect the world from North Korea. China has them so in check it isn't even funny. What person seriously thinks China would jeopardize its lucrative relationship with the Western world for North Korea? It's a total joke.

The reason we spend in East Asia is to protect the cheap labor factories owned by American corporations overseas. That's right, all that outsourced work that we didn't get here, we have to pay to protect it with our hard earned dollars we have to work harder and harder to earn. We also pay to protect all those factories that were relocated to East Asia during the 80's and 90's. They were actually subsidized through quiet currency manipulation deals between our government and those of many Asian nations, to get those nations in our pockets, as opposed to our former enemies, the Soviets.

But the Cold War ended in 1989. Now we're just helping wealthy guys get wealthier. That's corporate welfare, and unfair to me and you. They have the money to protect themselves, and if they cannot, they should not be there. We give more money to our military and the defense industry than any other nation. China is the next on the list, and they don't even come close to what we spend.

Yet one of the biggest problems facing this nation is the illegal guns hitting our streets getting in through our shipping ports. They are purchased legally wholesale from gun manufacturers, shipped overseas where serial numbers are filed off, and sent back to be sold on the American black market. Why are the troops used to protect some wealthy guy's factory overseas instead of back here in our ports inspecting every container on our shores?

Why aren't they working to take guns off the streets, that people purchasing them legally for protection, say they buy to defend against? Ban assault rifles to stop rampage violence, absolutely. But how many of those occur a year vs. how many deaths from illegally purchased guns? Our taxes should go to make our roads safe. Our taxes should go to root out police corruption. Our taxes should go towards better educating our kids. Our taxes should go towards the fire trucks that put out fires, instead they pay for foreign bases that have gotten so out of control there are taxpayer funded military golf courses overseas costing over a million dollars a year just to maintain. (

It isn't fair that our hard earned dollars go towards protecting some wealthy political campaign contributor. If our elected officials can't work up the guts to break the chains tying them to wealthy corporations looking for a free ride off our dollars, then we should elect people with the back bone to make those tough decisions; making well thought out, considerate yet tough decisions. The people that would bail those folks out and vote to invade Iraq we've had already. They want money and power just like the corporations. Let's get both of their hands out of the business of dipping into the honey jar while on our dime.

To read about my inspiration for this article go to
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