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Friday, December 10, 2010

Taxes and the American Debt

Due to the current budget deficit and financial situation our Federal government is in, I’m ‘for’ three things: 1) raising my taxes a small percentage to assist with paying off our debts, 2) lowering entitlement programs across the board, and 3) require that the over-40% of Americans who do not owe Federal taxes annually start carrying their own load and chip in to help.

I will address each below:

1) No, I’m not rich. No, I’m not poor. Yes, I probably make more money than the average American. Yes, I’ve situated my finances (incomes and debts) such that I have a little left to save each month. Yes, I can afford to pay a few hundred dollars more a year in Federal taxes. If it’s for the good of the country and will ensure that we do not become insolvent, yes, I’ll buy in to the tax hike.

I will also say that in order for me to buy in to a small tax hike, the government MUST stop spending more than it can afford. Sure, we can take on some debt – a little debt isn’t bad. But if the debt is out of hand, as is the case in modern times, then we need to curtail our spending. And that starts first with our Representatives and Senators in Congress – we must let them know that we no longer want them to spend as if it’s going out of style.

2) In line with curtailing Federal spending in Congress, Congress must also reduce the amount of money spent on entitlement programs. No, I’m not saying take everything away the government has promised people. What I am saying is that many of the so-called ‘entitlement’ programs have gone too far in cost. These programs need to shape up or ship out. It really should be as simple as that. Find cost savings, reduce bureaucracies, eliminate redundant tasks, and become more efficient or risk losing funding down the road. Yes, some people need help and I am ‘for’ that. No, I don’t want my money to go into a pit with no bottom that seems to be eating every bit of green it can find.

3) According to reports, anywhere from 10-47% of Americans did not owe Federal taxes in 2009. Why 10-47% it depends on who you ask and who is doing the math. Some say 47%, but that speaks to Federal income tax only, not including payroll taxes. When you open the question up to those who did not owe BOTH Federal income tax and payroll tax, that’s where the number drops significantly. I have read anywhere from 10-24% of Americans fall into this category. (Go here and here for reference)

If you ask me, even 10% is too much. In a country as wealthy as ours, even the poor are wealthy compared to the poor in other countries. Why we have such a significant amount of our population getting a whole lot of benefit for such little cost? Call it ‘entitlement programs gone wild or: how Congress has promised and spent too much over the past several decades.

It should be quite simple, and without going off on a tangent, here it is: everyone should chip in pay taxes, no matter how much money they make; even the smallest amount of taxes can help with the greater good of the nation. If I have to pay, so should you. Will I owe more than those less fortunate? Yes. Is it fair that they should owe nothing while others foot the bill? Definitely not.

We’re all in the same boat. Start rowing.

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