Taxes are due TODAY! We never get a refund anymore; we typically end up with a bill to the tune of at least a few thousand (on top of the thousands we pay throughout the year) dollars. We paid a lot in taxes this year, like a lot. But, instead of grousing (my first reaction) I have decided to practice gratitude. Why am I grateful to pay oodles of money in taxes to my dear old Uncle Sam who always seems to have his hand out?
- We are fortunate enough to have good jobs with nice benefits and we can afford it.
- We like driving on roads, safe bridges, the public education system, public safety services, supporting our veterans, and want to have social security and medicare around when we need it.
- We love being outside hiking, biking, and otherwise enjoying our National Parks and breathing fresh air and swimming in clear waters.
Where does the federal tax money go anyway?
- 24% Social Security
- This is the largest piece of the tax puzzle. Right now the Boomers have begun collecting on this, and I want to make sure I will have access to at least a portion of my investment.
- 15% Medicare
- Medical care is a right. I don’t care what anyone says. No one should go broke due to a medical condition. Medicare covers our older population, and I’ll happily pay this knowing it’s there for me if I have the good fortune of aging.
- 15% Defense
- This is a large portion of our budget. Sometimes, I think we’ve involved ourselves in conflicts we don’t have any business to. However, defense is important and when we are altruistic in defending the human condition I’m grateful we’re ready.
- 13% Health
- Aid programs for low to mid-income families that aren’t part of Medicare or Social Security. Things like Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and more are covered in this area. Healthcare and healthcare programs should be available to everyone.
- 13% Income Security
- Federal employee retirement (this one is dear to me for selfish reasons) and disability, food and housing assistance, and other programs to keep the most vulnerable in our society stable. Many of these programs are politicized, but if you, or someone you care for, needs these programs it’s comforting to know they are there.
- 6% Net Interest
- We have debt, and like individuals with debt – debt costs money. About 6% of your tax bill will go to paying on our debt.
- 6% Other
- A zillion other programs that are worthy of our money (think National Parks, NASA, public broadcasting, foreign aid, and others)
- 5% Veterans Benefits
- Vets deserve every penny of this. Take. My. Money.
- 3% Education
- I would gladly pay more to ensure education equality across states and income classes. The better educated our future generations are, the better we will all be.
There is a lot of political conversation/rhetoric over some programs that offer a lot of assistance to people in need. Can we cut some spending? Sure. But, perhaps not on the backs of those who need it the most, and earn the least. If my family needs to pay more to help those that receive less, I support that. As long as those in charge of the purse strings can make good choices. In comparison with other well-developed countries, our tax burden is small. While it is true that not every person who receives an entitlement from the government for assistance is a good person having a bad run of luck; conversely, not everyone who earns/inherits/receives/wins a vast sum of money and avoids a lot of taxes is a good person either. If we all just gave a little more to ensure every person in the United States has access to basic human needs, we’d all be a little better off and more collectively compassionate. So, today, as I write this check to Uncle Sam, I’m going to be grateful that I’m able to.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.