It’s almost April 15th, that wonderful time of the year when we pay taxes.

And I say this time of year sucks!! It doesn’t suck because of taxes; they’re inevitable. It sucks because of all the whining people do about taxes.

People complain about taxes all the time. We’re pretty ungrateful, here in America. We have among the lowest tax rates of any first-world country. Other countries get some dramatically visible services (mainly social safety net and healthcare) for their taxes, while a full 60% of our taxes go to military, social security, and medicare/medicaid, which most of us never see directly.

Of course, there’s plenty we do see but don’t connect with our tax dollars: our tax dollars pay for the war in Iraq (*), our schools, the people who clean the graffiti off walls, our sewer system, our water systems, our sidewalks, our policemen, our firemen, the interstate freeways that deliver our food, our oil supply, the court system, etc.

If you don’t like the way your tax dollars are spent, take a few minutes to look over the federal budget. Decide what you’d like cut and write your senators and congresspeople. It won’t make any difference(**), of course, since you aren’t a lobbyist with big dollars behind you, but at least you’ll have the moral high ground of complaining after actually having tried to do something real to affect the issue.

(*) I know, I know, you, personally, were never in favor of the war, but almost half of you voted to keep the wartime administration in 2004. Some of you voted for Bush and have genuinely convinced yourselves you didn’t. Some of you did and hope that by claiming opposition loudly enough, no one will call you to task over it. And some of you gave money to Kerry and assumed writing a check was all the action it would take to change course. Oh, well; welcome to reality. One thing I’m sure of: none of you stopped to analyze the quality of your 2004 decision-making and explicitly change the criteria you used to make your bad decision. It may be 2008, but you’re about to use the same broken decision-making process in November and you’ll wonder why politics doesn’t change.

(**) I think campaign finance is the rot in the system. A billion dollars on Presidential campaigns this year. What else could we have done with that money? As long as campaigns are that expensive, and as long as corporations and special interest can pool dollars to make a big impact, the legislation will benefit them, not us as individuals. So stop your bitching and do something about it or recognize that you’re living in the world of your own creation, take responsibility for your own situation, and spare us your piteous sobbing.

Taxes, yummy taxes!

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