By now, or very soon, most of us will have paid a substantial tax on our earnings to federal and state governments. This year it was quite a bigger bite than last, due to an increase in tax rates, which is intended to raise more revenue to lessen the gap between the income and expenditures of our governments.
My biggest beef is with the Federal government which, of course, gets a much higher percentage of our resources, than our State. Our government needs "these funds for its operation and a growing list of entitlements that are voted upon each year by our congress." Certainly something has to be done with the deficit. But the deficit, though blamed on past presidents, comes from the tax-and-spend congress which we inevitably elect each year. The last time we had a balanced budget was in the early sixties and what has happened during the last 30 years is nothing short of irresponsibility. Of course, something must be done with the deficit, but it makes no sense to blame it on the previous Republican administration. Reagan did not decrease taxes. He decreased tax rates, which in turn led to a stimulus of our economy which ultimately led to increased tax revenues. Clinton's increase in tax rates promises to do just the reverse.
So what do we get from all our taxes. We pay for some of the most inefficient bureaucracies, such as the postal service, the health care financing administration, and the military. We reward those who choose not to work and astonishingly we continue to elect liars and thieves such as large numbers of congress who have found a way to use the congressional banking system for personal gain and profit. Yet no one has seen fit to investigate or indict these individuals for the crimes they have committed. What they are doing is stealing our tax money and there is nothing that we can do about it.
So what can we do about this annual rip-off? The final answer would be to elect responsible congressmen. It is a fact that in spite of all of the above, we have the best and longest continuous government the world has ever seen, but it's losing momentum and direction and soon this statement will no longer be true. So I think that as we cough up our hard-earned cash each year in April, we should consider who we are electing and why. Certainly we should insist on the identification of thieves and insist on the investigation of those who cheat us out of our hard-earned money. Remember, we go to jail if we don't pay our income tax. And it's true, nobody ever beats the IRS.
Anyway, it is April and spring is here! And let's take time to smell the roses, now that we've got this annual penalty behind us.
I'll be in touch next month.
Thomas Petty, MD