Saturday, July 05, 2008

Fools and Our Money

It never gets mentioned much in the dramas about our founding fathers, but one of the big reasons for the American Revolution, was money. You see, the British Empire was about two goals; power and wealth. The American colonies represented quite a bit of each, and while the phrase ‘cash cow’ did not come into use until much later, it’s a apt phrase to describe how the King and Parliament saw them. This, in short, meant that whenever the British government decided it needed to raise funds, an early and popular plan was to raise taxes in the American colonies. This reached a point where the colonists were angry enough to protest, and when complaints were ignored, to resist. I mention this, because our Federal government seems very much inclined to go down the same road.

A good example is the price of gasoline. There is a great deal of talk about concern for the consumer, but no serious action. Indeed, despite promising to lower gas prices to below $2 a gallon, the present Congress has sat idly by while prices instead doubled. Plans have been suggested which could address the problem, both in the short and long term, yet the government stubbornly clings to unproven hysteric theories rather than act in prudent fashion. Neither party is really addressing the problem from the perspective of the average citizen. As usual.

The federal government gets more than two trillion dollars of our money every year, yet they manage to run a deficit and to waste a lot of it on garbage projects to please their own egos. Two trillion dollars is about fifteen thousand dollars a taxpayer, every single year, not including the taxes you pay to a city, county, state or other tax authority. Leaving statistics aside, you have to pay when you get your wages, you pay every time you buy something, you pay for where you live, any nearby schools, a lot of your roads and bridges, and all sorts of fees even when you don’t use what they’re paying for. You get taxed on your phone – if I recall correctly, we are somehow still paying for the Spanish-American War, you get to pay taxes everytime the US government decides it wants to help someone else. That’s one thing when we are helping disaster relief, but something else when we are paying folks for not working, for a politically motivated cause, or for their personal campaigns. And then, after all this paying without our consent or in many cases much informing, we get to file income tax returns, which if done wrongly will lead to threats and penalties by the government.

As we celebrate the anniversary of our independence from Britain, it might be time to notice that someone else wants to make us their colony, their cash cow for whatever they please. And perhaps it is once again time to make clear that we are the nation, not those mandarins – Republican or Democrat – who claim ‘public service’ but only serve their own.

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