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Friday, August 13, 2010

Taxes and Yellow Ribbons

Like overt profanity, the word "taxes" seems to generate as much angst as using four letter obscenities.  

Yet,  reputable news sources report economic growth and stability from three important countries where people pay a lot of taxes.  Great Britain and Germany are both experiencing economic growth.  Japan's currency, the Yen, is stronger than ever against the US dollar. 

Today's Wall Street Journal (August 13th) reports the euro-zone economy grew at the fastest pace in four years. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703960004575426572933053474.html?mod=djemalertEuropenews.


Americans, on the other hand, are experiencing weaker than expected economic growth.  Of course, waging wars in Iraq and Afghanistan not to mention other world hot spots like Korea, don't help to reduce expenses. Raising taxes on the rich appears to upset Congress. These are the men and women who are likely living in the tax bracket of incomes where higher taxes take money from their personal checkbooks.  

Americans have lost sight of the greater good with regard to taxes.  We want young men and women to defend our nation but we pay them with yellow ribbons and thank you parades.  Public servants like police, fire, and rescue personnel are required to train non-stop in life protecting exercises; but people who depend on these services balk at paying higher taxes to compensate the providers who maintain law, order and safety in our communities.  

Americans are upset about the use of federal stimulus money to help bail out banks and Wall Street. Rightfully so, because these companies are among the very wealthy that often find ways of not paying their fair share of taxes, i.e., the source of the money that went into the billion dollar bailouts, in the first place.  

If everyone really paid their fair share of taxes, then a bail out of rich companies could have been seen as a rescue effort rather than a reward for incompetent leadership and inventing investment schemes like credit default swaps (what ever that term means!).


But, Americans are becoming more greedy and myopic.  Other nations, which were once our enemies, are now economic engines. Several wars were once waged against Great Britain.  Germany and Japan were destroyed by American military might.  These countries are now experiencing stable economies while America's is stumbling along.  Taxes are high in all of these countries,  yet the people have a very high standard of living and good health care. 

It's time to stop making political headlines with the word "taxes".  Instead, the word should be a euphemism for future investment.  Like running a household or a small business, we squirrel money away today so it can grow with interest to be used at a later time.  Taxes should be viewed the same way.

Paying taxes should be a patriotic an exercise. Along with flying an American flag or pinning a yellow ribbon on our front door step, we need to pay for being a strong and free nation.  A formula for our future should read thus:  Patriotism + Taxes = Economic Security.


















 

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