I am glad to say that of the two certain things that will happen in life, happily only one befell my family this month: Taxes. Does anyone enjoy paying taxes? Even if you harbor fond thoughts when you pay them, be sure not to “like” them just in case the IRS institutes the same rule as General Mills Foods so that you essentially forfeit your right to sue if you like them and/or download a coupon.
I’m actually not opposed to paying taxes broadly speaking. All of us use a lot of services that the government provides. I’m all in favor of good schools, well-maintained roads, Social Security, etc. I understand that, since I live in a democracy and different people may have different priorities, I may not concur with all of my government’s spending decisions.
However, that’s not how it works anymore (if it ever did). Now more than ever, because of the Citizens United ruling, corporations are determining how our tax dollars are spent. Now, maybe you agree with the Supreme Court regarding Citizens United that corporations are “persons” too and should therefore have the right to make donations up the wazoo to politicians. Hey, they make more money consequently they presumably pay more taxes, right? So maybe they should get a greater say (never mind the whole one person=one vote thingy). But the funny thing is corporations – especially the richest of them – often pay little or no income taxes.
For the first time, my son has had to pay income tax. Nevermind that he isn’t even in the double-digits age-wise. We invested in a modest college fund for him which generated a small paper profit last year. So, for 2013, he had to pay more income tax than the Boeing Corporation has since he was born! That’s right, a child with a dinky little college fund is paying more taxes than a company that rakes in billions in profits every year.
Is that fair? I sure don’t think so. So what can we do? For a start, sign the petitions for I-1329 that are going around that seek to overturn Citizens United by Constitutional Amendment. It is a long process, but well-worthwhile. My husband has been passing it here in Washington; similar efforts are underway in many other states. It is vitally important that we get corporations out of our government and people back in.
If you want to know more, here is Robert Reich’s short video about how unequal our current tax code is. Don’t worry, it is easier to understand than the tax code. Is Our Tax System Fair?
And here is an excellent 6 minute video on the mal-distribution of wealth in our country. What you think is reality, really isn’t. Wealth Inequailty in America