Tax (noun) – definition 1. an amount of money levied by a government on its citizens. 2. a strain or heavy demand.
This system is over-taxing us. The government is taking our money at the federal, state and local levels. And the system is taxing us – putting a huge burden on us – emotionally and physically. April 15th was tax day. No one wants to pay taxes and get little or nothing in return. So, people wait until the last minute if they owe and some refuse to pay taxes on moral and political grounds.
And here and there small groups of “tea baggers” demonstrated to get media attention. Whether you got a refund this year or not, looking at the taxes we pay and what we get in return is shocking. Our public services – from education to health care to transportation have been cut. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to give billions of dollars to the banks that helped create this economic crisis. While our lives are under attack by the ravages of the economy, the U.S. government continues to wage war around the world. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken hundreds of thousands of lives and have cost us close to one BILLION dollars so far. And there is no end in sight.
We have a right to be angry and disgusted. For those who are not part of the growing ranks of the unemployed (officially 12.6 per cent in California), our wages have not kept up with the rising cost of living for the past decade or more. Yet we continue to pay the lion’s share of the taxes while year after year the wealthy and their corporations get tax breaks.
We have every reason to be angry. And we see this anger displayed in all sorts of ways.
Unfortunately the main way people take their anger out is on each other. The economic stresses tax our compassion for each other and people lash out at family members and others close to them. Child abuse, spousal abuse and other household traumas become more commonplace as people can’t meet their bills, face eviction and are more stressed.
On the job people get angry at each other. Most jobs demand more, as workers are laid off or positions remain unfilled and we are expected to pick up the slack. Under these pressures, faced with the exhaustion of often working another job, and facing problems at home, some workers resist and leave the work undone. Their co-workers get angry with these so-called “lazy” workers and the tension in the workplace gets worse.
We are at a crossroads of sorts. We have to decide which path to take. We can follow the one we are on and be taxed by this system – financially, physically and mentally. Or we can resist.
The tea baggers claim to be resisting, saying that Obama is to blame for everything. They oppose universal healthcare (which the Obama administration didn’t even deliver on). They blame our situation on illegal immigrants and social spending. While their fears are understandable, their solutions, in reality, are to continue to support the agenda of the banks and the corporations.
This doesn’t mean that the path held out by Obama and the Democrats is the one to follow. Many have hoped that the politicians will take care of us and instead we see who they take care of.
The situation of inequality is reaching the breaking point. Working people are being taxed to death while the billionaires pay less each year. What right do they have to take advantage of the resources of society and not pay their share? What right do corporations have to pay less and less in taxes each year? This has to end.
The situation is not hopeless. But for change to happen, we need to follow our own path – one that supports our own interests. Some people have begun to take action – especially to defend education – going to school board meetings and demanding an end to the attack on their children’s futures. People have mobilized, taking their protests into the streets around the state. We can find solutions ourselves. Our lives and our futures depend on it.