Who Should Pay Taxes?

We can debate whether government should be involved in this or that, or whether a program is necessary or appropriate. But at its barest minimum, government has expenses: salaries, buildings, furnishings, supplies, infrastructure, equipment, construction, and maintenance. So government needs money. Government gets its money from taxes.

The U.S. Constitution specifically gives Congress the power “. . . to lay and collect taxes”, and to make all laws necessary to execute that power. Congress established the Internal Revenue Service in 1862 to serve as the nation’s tax collector.

American taxes fall into three broad categories: individual, corporate, and excise. Employers withhold income taxes from employees’ paychecks throughout the year. We file our tax returns early in the following year to calculate our total tax bill. If we owe less than the amount withheld, we get a refund. If too little was withheld, we owe taxes. Corporations make estimated tax payments on their profits each quarter, but there are many more loopholes and deductions and the process is much more complex. Excise taxes are collected on the sale of certain goods such as gasoline, cigarettes, alcohol, and utilities. Even the poorest Americans pay excise and sales taxes. The merchants who sell those products file the paperwork and send those tax dollars to the IRS. Revenue is the sum of all taxes collected.

When revenue exceeds spending, we have a surplus. When spending exceeds revenue, we have a deficit. The total of all U.S. deficits throughout our history is called the national debt. The first deficit occurred in 1792. Since 1901, the federal budget has run surpluses in 27 years and deficits in 84 years. Our last surpluses, from 1998 to 2001, totaled $559 billion. In 2010, the federal government collected $2.1 trillion and spent $3.4 trillion for a deficit of $1.3 trillion.

The republithugs’ favorite claim, that President Obama tripled the deficit in his first year in office, is a lie. Cheneybush spent a trillion dollars, that’s $1,000,000,000,000, on its war in Iraq from 2001 to 2008. They hid those expenses by never listing a penny of those costs on the federal budget.They lied to you. Obama merely listed the money where it belonged. He didn’t spend the money. He corrected their fraudulent bookkeeping.

Now certainly no one enjoys paying taxes, but most of us accept the responsibility and do pay them. It’s part of being a grownup. Some people, primarily Republicans, teapartiers, and corporatists, operate under the bizarre notion that they shouldn’t have to pay taxes. They expect the rest of us to pay the government’s bills.

They love to rant about “personal responsibility” right up until it reaches their front doors. Many corporations exploit the tax code so that they pay no taxes at all. Yet they don’t hesitate to take advantage of our interstate highway system to transport their products. They use our airports for their business travel, our emergency services to protect their facilities, our elected representatives to enact their tax cuts, and our schools to recruit their employees. Wealthy individuals use streets, parks, libraries, museums, airports, stadiums, sewers, roads, bridges, and schools just like the rest of us. Yet they pay $$millions$$ to hotshot lawyers to avoid paying for those privileges.

They whine that corporations and gazillionaires need tax cuts because they might create jobs. Microsoft Corporation does not base its business plans on the level of Bill Gates’ personal taxes. They don’t fire people when Gates’ taxes increase. They don’t hire people when Gates’ taxes decrease. No company does it . Only an imbecile would believe that. There is no incentive for corporations and the wealthy to invest in industry and create jobs when the government hands them buckets of money for nothing.

Cheneybush brought us the largest tax cuts in history. Its job growth record from 2001 to 2007 was the worst since the Great Depression and those cuts cost us more than seven million jobs from 2007 to 2009.^ Republicans have been cutting taxes for 30 years. If tax cuts created jobs, we would all have five great jobs by now. I don’t. Do you? They don’t believe any of this stuff. But they sure want you to fall for it.

They insist that tax cuts generate revenue. Actually, the cheneybush tax cuts added $1.7 trillion to the national debt. According to U.S Treasury reports, those cuts generated only one dollar for each ten dollars cut. They are directly responsible for our current economic situation. Yet, President Obama appeased the republithugs AGAIN and extended those cuts for two more years.

We can talk about spending all day, but the government needs more money. The only way to increase revenue is to increase taxes.

The idea that you should not have to pay for the things you use today because you might do something, someday is laughable. No rational human being would fall for that line. Try telling Sears that they should give you a free lawnmower today because you might hire a local kid to cut your grass tomorrow. See how that works out for you.

To answer the question, everyone should pay taxes. We all must contribute to the society that we enjoy. Just who do these people think they are? And why didn’t their parents bother to teach them any sense of personal responsibility?


For More Information:

Tax Cuts: Myths and Realities
Policy Basics: The 2001 and 2003 Tax Cuts
* Tax Cuts for the Wealthy DO NOT Create Jobs
^ Before the Bush Recession: Supply Side Tax Cuts Failed to Deliver Jobs and Income Growth between 2001 and 2007
The Bush Tax Cuts Are the Disaster that Keeps on Giving
Tax Returns: A Comprehensive Assessment of the Bush Administration’s Record on Cutting Taxes


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