Death and taxes are two things you can always count on. Since the beginning of time people have paid taxes and died. However that saying goes, it emphasizes the point that taxes are persistent and simply there. For the entire NYC budget proposal by Bloomberg last week his selling point was that there would be no new taxes. Libraries, schools, FDNY, the Parks department, and numerous other agencies are facing devastating cuts that would hinder services, but by golly there will be no tax increases.
For this blog entry I’m going to write out my opinions on taxes. First of all I’d like to state that I’m not really political at all. I watch and get into the presidential elections but that only happens every four years. I have more liberal friends than conservative ones, but hardly ever bring up politics with anyone. There is always sports, music, skateboarding, popular culture, or any number of things more interesting to talk about than politics. However one important concept of conservative politics rubs me the wrong way, and that is the term ‘big government’. To a lot of people in this country ‘big government’ needs to be avoided at all costs.
When government overpowers it’s citizens in dictatorships and terrorizes people that is a horrible problem. But America is a democracy where people have personal freedoms. With the constitution and the individual rights we have, government can and does improve people’s lives. Free education up through high school is an amazing thing that the government does. I’m a librarian and we offer resources for all age groups everywhere in this country. The park system was founded by Teddy Roosevelt, and provides people with healthy outside recreation. Police and fire departments save people’s lives. Lots of hospitals are funded by the government. Roads and Mass transit are funded by the government. To me ‘big government’ means this stuff has a chance of getting done. Less funding means less services.
Rich people are not going to organize every service and provide it out of their own pockets, nor should they. If services were left to being paid for by private funds the allocation would be lopsided. Something that is popular or trendy would get a lot of funding, but some necessary things that people take for granted would get neglected. That is why we need government and law, for an entity to look at public funding and make decisions on what services to provide.
Online I’m seeing a lot of posts of tax the rich. I think the rich should be taxed more, and the Bush’s tax cuts should expire. But I think that everyone working should be taxed a little more. Some people in my profession get annoyed when a patron states something like ‘my taxes pay for this.’ That can be a tricky interaction to respond to, but maybe a pride in paying taxes would be good thing for people in this country. When I skate at the skate parks in the city on weekends maybe I should think I helped fund this park that I’m enjoying and everyone else skating there enjoys. Most people equate voting as a great American right, and it is. I also think paying taxes is contributing back to society and part of the process. If every tax payer in New York City paid some more taxes, perhaps a lot of the services could be restored.
I think people don’t like taxes because it funds government services that they individually do not like. That makes since on an individual level, but for the big picture it does not. Law can be reformed, and changed. I think it’s advisable to try to reform services through law, media, and other means than to decrease funding severely. Schools are needed every year, and each year funding is needed. In long term planning how schools are run could be changed, but the yearly funding needs to stay the same so the kids can get their education. The library needs the current funding or more so they’ll be open a good part of the week to service their communities.
In closing taxes are not the evil, but in fact provide so much.