Tax Day is Raid the Treasury Day for Bush&Co

President Bush took the opportunity today to once again call for making his tax cuts permanent. If there is one issue that Americans are not strongly divided on, but should be, it's taxation. There is little substantial argument over taxes. Both Democrats and Republicans have found that tax cuts go over well with voters. Their differences lie in how federal revenues should be spent, whether it's using the Army or "civilian contractors" in Iraq, whether its having social services or faith-based initiatives provide for the poor, whether its social welfare or corporate welfare. Everybody wants something from the government, and everyone seems to love tax cuts, even when they know that the rich are getting richer at the public's expense. When our lawmakers are being bought and sold by the wealthiest among us, why should we expect otherwise?

Let me make this point clear: I like paying taxes! Yes, I do. You see, the more money I make, the more I pay in taxes. It's quite simple, really. This is how we keep score. A higher rate of taxation lets me know that I'm getting ahead, and therefore have a greater responsibility to contribute to the greater good.

What I resent is that many people think that government should be paid for by poor and middle class Americans. What I resent is being sold a false bill of goods. I resent that Bush proposes tax cuts even while waging a war that costs us $1 billion a week, even while deficits are soaring. I resent being told that my federal income tax is being cut, but that my state, local and sales taxes are increasing. I resent that the rich manage to pay much less than they should thanks to unscrupulous accountants and a tax code that is written on their behalf. I resent that American corporations are getting tax breaks for sending jobs overseas. I resent that 70% of American corporations pay no federal taxes at all. I resent that George & Laura Bush got a tax cut of $30,858, while Dick and Lynne Cheney paid $88,047 less in taxes this year. The Vice President paid a tax rate of just 13.1% on his income. Guess who makes up the difference? (And yes, John Kerry got a tax cut, too.)

I understand that we live in a wonderful, free society, and that costs money. We have good roads and clean water and the best national parks system in the world, and those things cost money. We have the world's strongest military, and that costs money. We have an agricultural industry that can feed the world several times over, and that costs money. And we all should pay our fair share. But Bush&Co think the Treasury Department is their own personal bank account, to withdraw funds from as they see fit. They say they're cutting their taxes to help the economy, to create jobs, or even that they've earned it, but we know better. They're just greedy. (Isn't greed a venial sin, Mr Bush?)

There are things we can and should do better as a society, and these things cost money, such as providing universal health care, or rebuilding what was once the world's greatest public school system. We can do these things, but they will cost money. And for that I gladly pay my taxes, as any patriotic American should.