Tax Time Thoughts

Bill Loving
Green Bay

It is tax time.

I don’t mind what I pay to the state and federal governments even if it means writing checks for additional taxes some years. That’s because taxes are the price of civilization (Justice Oliver Wendell Homes, Jr., wrote that in 1927 when a foreign corporation objected to paying taxes.).

The taxes we pay give us roads, water and sewer systems, schools and public safety. Taxes created the interstate highway system, commercial aviation and public health systems Everywhere you look, you can see something paid for with the taxes that people have paid over the decades.

Not everyone agrees about paying taxes.

People say, “I made the money, I should keep it,” and “the government has no right to take my money and spend it on (fill in the blank).”

A lot of people who object to taxes do so because they say they built their own businesses and the government should not take away the fruits of their labor.

Are they really self-made? Have they done it all on their own?

If they have employees, taxes paid for the hospitals where those employees were born, the public health systems that made it possible for them to grow healthy, and the schools where they learned skills that the business would need.

Taxes that other people paid built the roads that brought in raw materials and carried away finished products (keep in mind that it costs between $2million to $5 million to build a single mile of road). If it is an Internet business, remember that taxes paid for the Defense Department program that created the Web.

Today’s business owners and entrepreneurs rely on things that our parents paid for through taxes. But some people aren’t willing to pay taxes to build the things that our kids will need to succeed.

People who fight taxes the hardest are those who have made the most using what other people’s taxes paid for. Still, they can be persuasive and sometimes manage to get candidates elected who argue for lower taxes and claim that they are protecting taxpayers.

But which taxpayers are they protecting? Is it regular people whose kids are in schools that lack resources; the student whose university has had its budget cut; the driver who needs to pay for new tires or suspension because roads aren’t being maintained?