Today is, of course, Tax Day in the United States. I have no doubt that, even as this piece finds its way to the part of the Internet where it can be easily seen, people are rushing to get materials together so that they can rush through tax programs and hope they do not end up being audited or so that they can speed down to one tax preparation office or another and pass the task off onto another. (Full disclosure: I do work for one such, Liberty Tax Service in Kerrville, Texas. I do their social media work and the occasional odd job.) All the while, they are like to complain about both the burden of filing taxes and actually paying them; I like to think myself removed from that, as I do not mind paying my fair share of things, and I would rather do or have the work done myself than trust revenuers to be diligent with such things.
I do not mind paying my portion because I enjoy many of the things I get and have gotten from doing so and from being among others who do so. I believe I’ve noted here that my father has been an employee of the US government for decades, now; his salary comes from tax money, and I’d not have been able to eat without that salary, so I appreciate it and its sources. I’ve been an employee of more than one state, working in each for an agency that is funded in large part through federal taxes (and, to a lesser extent, from state taxes); my own pay has come from such, and I have appreciated getting paid. The same has been true for my wife. And we both had our higher educations subsidized through tax-funded programs; I feel I ought to pay into a system from which I have benefited.
This is not to say that I approve of all the things to which my tax money goes. I would like to get more value out of the salaries I help pay to the legislators who get into office (too often above my objections, but still…) and the executives at levels ranging to the highest. I would like to see institutionalized discrimination based on inborn characteristics be stopped. I would like to see more devoted to education and rehabilitation that punishment and belligerence. And there are more things about which I could comment at length and with no small fervor–but I doubt it will be of much help or new insight.
There is this, at least: I do not expect to benefit without paying in. And there is this, too: I do not begrudge those whose needs are greater than mine having those needs met. There will come a time when I have need, or when some for whom I care have it. I can hope that they will be able to find it–but I know they will not if it is not there, and this day helps make sure that it might actually be there for them.