NOTE FROM CHRIS: Today is the soft-launch of our newest Eclectablogger Judy Matlock. As “judyms9”, Judy has been the most prolific commenter on Eclectablog for two years running according to our WordPress stats. And she’s not just prolific; her comments are insightful, often getting to the heart of the matter and bringing in angles that the author of the post did not include in their piece. Some of her comments, in fact, have been worthy of stand-alone blog posts of their own. Judy describes herself as an activist, retired teacher, social worker, and project manager
That’s why I invited her to join Team Eclectablog.
It’s worth noting – VERY worth noting – that it is the generosity of YOU, our readers, during this past fundraising drive that has allowed us to expand in this way.
I’ll have an interview with Judy soon so that you can get to know her better. In the meantime, here’s her first post. Please welcome her to the team.
This time of year you can you hear the grim choral groaning about Tax Day? It’s the background noise of our politics, the subliminal reminder that we should be unhappy about having to pay for things we receive, things like national defense, education, research and development, public land maintenance, highways, law enforcement, and so on. We want these things, but we want them “bestowed upon us” because this is America, darn it, and finding ways to skip out on the check is a popular obsession. Legions of accountants, financial planners, software designers and celebrity wealth management advisers make large sums telling the comfortable and wealthy what to do to avoid paying the dread membership fee for living in what we know is the best nation on earth.
Our most vocal politicians take their oratorical swings at April 15th in order to make us all feel oppressed by the IRS and our state treasury and see them as bullies extorting us of our lunch money. The refrain is always “waste, fraud and abuse” of our tax dollars by a villainous government, and it comes from those who are part of that selfsame system.
Most of us pay taxes at the federal and state levels. Each state has its own income tax rate, while some states have no income tax at all. For some states the rate is a straight forward percentage of income. Michigan’s is one of the more complex but doesn’t impose the highest taxes.
Taxes payments going from the states to the federal government are different for each state, and this is a problem because it allows some states to keep their tax rates low at the expense of other states and skews our politics in all the curious ways discussed in the media.
We have a responsibility to pay for what we receive whenever we’re able. Clearly some states, Michigan included, have been providing long term assistance to other states that have been unable or unwilling to pay. But you seldom hear much squawking about this type of redistribution of wealth because it is the cost of holding a great nation together. We don’t demean states that have chronic need of assistance in quite the snide way some people express contempt for fellow humans who are in the same at-risk economic straits (who calls New Mexico a “welfare queen?”) If we can look past the disparate and perhaps unfair redistribution of tax revenues among the states, why can’t we do the same with America’s needy?
On Tax Day those who can, must, and do pay are acting in the spirit of true patriotism, a spirit that values our fellow Americans and preserves the well-being of our states and nation. So, sign that check with a flourish and take a bow because you’re so much better than those tax dodgers with their offshore accounts and their arcane tax exemptions.
And remember to send some of those Red State Governors notes from Michigan saying “You’re welcome.”