8.24.2011

A (Not So) Tiny Rant

I don't talk politics on the blog very often. Although I have strong feelings about the way our country is headed, I've found it is one of those hot topics that just doesn't translate well in online forums. In my experience, neither blog comments nor Facebook status posts are the best locations for political debate due to the constraints of time and briefness that such platforms generally require. Add to that a lack of visual communication and an inability to hear tone of voice which all leads to general misunderstandings and the posting of quick tempered comments that are later removed (but sometimes not before they are seen).

And yet, here I am, preparing to spend a few minutes ranting on my blog about something that hits close to home AND involves politics and government. Why? Well, for one thing, it's my blog - a place where I can talk about what I want, be it clothing break-throughs, personal finances, God's work in my life, book recommendations, or my opinion on the state of the economy.


The second (and more practical) reason is because I'm downright mad. Since I don't have the space to vent on Facebook (and don't feel like dealing with the comments that I know would come if I did), and I'm not in a position to reach a large number of people through traditional media channels, I'm left with the blog as my platform for inciting rebellion discussing the current financial state of the country.

Shall I tell you what has raised my hackles enough to write? For the last month, my husband has been busting his you-know-what, working until all hours of the night to make sure certain projects at work are completed. Because he is hourly, he has racked up quite a bit of overtime (in a period of two weeks, he had over 50 hours). If you've read the blog, then you already know that one of our goals is to get our house paid off within the next two years, which means that any extra we get goes straight to the payoff.


But then, in steps someone who has demonstrated no ability to handle money - the government. When Peter's check arrived (which included the overtime), we didn't complain about the amount, but it was gut wrenching to see what could have been, had the government not taxed the overtime pay at a much higher rate. In fact, out of a two week period of time (twelve working days if you count the time he spent on Saturdays), Peter actually worked for almost four days for the government and gave over 20% of his paycheck to people who don't understand the meaning of bankrupt.

While he has been putting in late nights and I've been working a side job, the government has been raising the debt ceiling and discussing higher taxes as a means of boosting the economy. Can anyone explain how they could possibly think this is a good idea? They took a large chunk of $$$ from Peter's paycheck this week. If we had that amount in the check, do you know what we would have done with it? Invested it back into the economy! Allowing people to keep more of their money actually promotes economic growth and helps create jobs. This is not rocket science.


And lest you think I'm anti-taxes, I'm not. I recognize that there is a place for taxation, specifically to pay for the services of the police, firefighters, military personnel, and the (ever-so-important) waste management crew. But you see, that's how capitalism works - you are paid for services rendered. If I go to the car dealership to have my car worked on, I pay my mechanic. If I go to the doctor for a check up or a shot, I pay for her service and expertise. You donate to the church to pay your pastor, you pay your bill at the grocery store which in turn pays the salaries of those who are bagging your food and stocking the shelves.

Last week my 70-year-old mother told me that she was going to have to start paying tax on her retirement IRA this next month because she was going to be 70.5 and the IRS decided that if she hadn't spent the money by that point, she was going to have to pay taxes on it - again. That's when something snapped in me. For one thing, it's blatant double-taxation since the money in their IRA was already taxed before it was invested. With this news coming right on top of seeing the amount removed by old Uncle Sam from Peter's paycheck, smoke might as well have been pouring from my ears.


Something has to stop. Something has to change. Something has to be done. This isn't a Red State/Blue State issue. It has nothing to do with race, sex, or religious associations. I don't care if you have an (R) or a (D) after your name - if you're in Washington and you've decided it would be a nice lifelong career, then it's time for you to go. The government claims that they need our taxes to care for the elderly, and yet they are taxing my retired, elderly parents a SECOND time. They claim they are caring for those who can't afford health care, yet in my job I see people come every day and complain about the minuscule amount they have to pay, but they easily find the money for other items that are not necessary to their health or well being.


It comes down to choices and personal responsibility - something I don't see much of in my job or at the government level. The part that kills me that that I'm hacked over the government skimming 20% off of Peter's check and taxing us like we made that amount all year long, but I know people who are paying 40% or more in taxes and they aren't multi-millionaires who live in McMansions. They are your average self-employed individual who pays for his own health insurance and retirement, or your family physician who pays out the nose for malpractice insurance just in case he is sued. In other words, they aren't the politicians in Washington who get paid and insured for life whether they are in office or not, they are our neighbors, our doctors, our family and friends.

There is so much more I could add to this and more that I would like to say, but instead, I'd like to leave you with two quotes from a Founding Father because I feel that he said it better than I ever could.

In 1753, Benjamin Franklin said...

Repeal that [welfare] law, and you will soon see a change in their manners. St. Monday and St. Tuesday, will soon cease to be holidays. Six days shalt thou labor, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by dividing all your estates among them.

And in 1766, Franklin added to these thoughts...

I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.



5 comments:

  1. I loved the "inciting rebellion" crack. Very funny.

    This is an incredibly well thought out and well written post. Thank you for bravely posting your opinions on a topic that is scary to bring up!
    You've definitely given ME lots to think about.

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  2. Yep. Love the Franklin quote.... good post.

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  3. Good post and I agree! It's scary how much the Gov/t takes from us in the name of "helping others". Every time I see someone in the grocery store with a cart full of food that I can't even afford to buy,then see them whip out the food stamps, I just want to scream!! Get a job and stop living off of mine!

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  4. Molly - I worked on this post for several days before I published because I didn't want it to come across as a bitter diatribe against any one party or problem. I had a lot more I wanted to say, but as I realized it really wasn't the place. So thanks for your kind words, they do mean a lot.

    Beth - Franklin was a smart man.

    Anonymous - Indeed. I feel that frustration a lot. Today I was involved in a discussion with a group of people who were getting free medical supplies while eating chips, offering me food stamps, and smoking. It was hard to be kind.

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  5. yep, that would make me mad as fire too. We get taxed 40% on any bonuses here and its incredibly frustrating, plus we're hard working, saving as much as we can, buying locally, on one salary with three kids and they still tell us we owe more taxes at the eofy!

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There are more than 400,000 words in the English language. My only request of you is this: Use them wisely.

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