I've been working on our taxes this week and if anything can send me into a rant, that's it. Now, I figure that everybody hates paying taxes, but if you listen to conservatives you'd think that the tax man ranks right up there with Hitler, Stalin and Jack the Ripper.
You've heard them, I'm sure. "The government wants to confiscate your hard earned money," or "That government just wants to steal my money." Of course this is usually followed by the words, "And give it to some poor folks," or words to that effect. This echos back to the 2012 Presidential race and the talk of Makers and Takers. But maybe we need to get a bit real.
When you try to define who falls into which camp, either the Makers or the Takers, you run into several, shall we say, problem areas. For example, the fact that the Federal Government pays out huge amounts to subsidize the oil industry. And Agribusiness gets in on their share, as does the renewable fuels industry, including solar, wind, hydro and geothermal. And let's not forget the auto industry, the airline industry and pretty much any other transportation industry you can think of other than the Amish buggy industry. And these and many more are so called Makers!
On the Taker side of the coin one is faced with the uncomfortable truth that both Social Security payments and unemployment benefits are taxable. That's right, every year I have to pay taxes on the Social Security Disability payments which I received during the year. So, does that make me a Taker... or a Maker? Let's see, I earned enough money as a business owner who created and helped to create a couple hundred jobs, and paid into the Social Security and Medicare systems the required taxes so that now, when I need it, I can get a check from Social Security for my disability and receive health insurance by way of Medicare. I guess I went from being a Maker to a Taker. But since I still pay taxes on what I receive I should still be a Maker, right?
And that right there is the part that makes my head explode. People are always changing their status in our mobile and ageing society. It's one of the things that makes this a great country. We just shouldn't label folks with names like Makers and Takers and then try to make those labels a justification for certain policies. It's not fair and it can come back and bite you later in life. Even conservatives get old you know.