Where do our taxes go?
We think we know, more or less, and most of us are pissed off about it.
Paying taxes is one of the most democratic practices under our system of government, but one which is carried out in grossly undemocratic ways. I have little patience for the libertarian types who beat the “taxes are theft” trope drum. Most folks who argue that point are either very rich and selfish, very stupid, or a combination thereof. Unless you want to leave society entirely, be functionally homeless and live in the woods, surviving off the land and by your wits, a la Captain Fantastic or Leave no Trace, then you have to pay into the society from which you benefit. Keep in mind too that in both those movies, the characters had to occasionally engage in theft, a bit of drug dealing, and other petty crimes to get by. Also keep in mind that they are both movies. If you want to use roads, electricity, water, plumbing, the internet, grocery stores, any of the trappings of society, then it is just that you participate and pay your fair share.
That said, what is a fair share and what is simply fair offers room for more discussion.
Everyone should pay a percentage of what they have, and that percentage should rise corresponding to their wealth so that the richest people pay much more. A simple idea but one which still eludes us in this country. We can’t even get our heads around the concept that corporations should be taxed at all, let alone a large portion of their revenues, rather than receiving huge subsidies from us, the actual taxpayers.
High taxes for rich fucks. Very high taxes for corporations. Low to medium taxes for most of us. That would be fair.
As for what is then done with all those tax dollars, that is an area in which there should be more liberty.
While we should be obliged to pay our fair share in taxes, we should then have the freedom to decide how those taxes are spent. That would be democratic.
I don’t want my tax dollars going to further bloat the US’s already morbidly obese “defense” budget, which is where most of all our dollars go. I also don’t want my money going to fossil fuel infrastructure or the police. Many if not most of us disagree with how the majority of our money is spent. Through the ruse of “representative democracy,” we are sold the lie that we play a role in the spending decisions of our government. This is of course heaping piles of bullshit because much of what our “representatives” propose and approve is completely counter to our wishes and will.
Putting aside the fact that choosing between two undesirable rich fucks who don’t give a fuck about us once every two to four years is not actually democracy, despite what we’re told by those rich fucks, pundits, and the corporations that they all serve, it is completely undemocratic for our money to be taxed and then spent in ways we object to or find abhorrent.
When we file our tax returns, we should have the option to select on which departments and projects we want our money spent. So if my evil jackoff doppelganger wants to spend the entirety of their taxes on more guns and bombs for the military and police, and prisons and death chambers, then by all means that would be their right, and I’d spend mine on animal shelters, housing programs, universal medical coverage, and food assistance.
This system would employ “rank choice” apportionment, so if the animal shelter coffers were runnething over what they need or could even use, the excess money would go to the next selected option, and so on.
Not only would this reformed system of taxation be more free, fair, and democratic, it would make most of us feel a hell of a lot better. We wouldn’t have the nebulous boogeyman of government to blame for how wrongly our money is spent because we would be choosing. We’d have less need to argue and fight with one another because we’d all have a level of involvement in the process, independence, and freedom of choice. The anti-choicers and bigots wouldn’t be able to complain about their tax dollars being spent on abortion and gender reassignment surgeries, to the tiny extent they even are now. Likewise, us utopian peaceniks wouldn’t be able to complain about how many trillions of dollars are wasted on instruments of genocide. Granted, we probably all still would complain, but because our voices would be heard, as it were, and we’d be literally “voting with our dollars,” we’d be positioned to do so more civilly. And we’d feel better. And truly, those two things would be a huge improvement over the system as it is.