Friday, April 06, 2007

Our tax dollars at work

It’s that time of year when I become acutely uncomfortable with where my tax dollars are going. The New Yorker astutely sends this message on its April 9, 2007 cover.*

How much of the “tax pie” includes military spending? There’s a pie chart at Ben Cohen’s (the “Ben” of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream)

According to Ben, “About three-fifths of the federal budget covers expenses that are written into law, including payment on the national debt, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. This is usually called “mandatory” or “entitlement” spending.

The part of the budget that the President and Congress create each year is called the discretionary budget. In the just-concluded fiscal year, more than half of the discretionary budget for a total amount of $463 billion was spent by the Pentagon. These dollars don't include funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan , nor do they include most homeland security programs, which are paid for in other areas of the budget.”

And what about our tax dollars funding the war in Iraq? has a link to a 2 ½ minute video clip from a CNN January, 2007 news report that compares what is being spent in Iraq with what that money could do for the infrastructure in this country.

I have a ‘pie chart” pin that Ben distributed when he came to Santa Rosa with Representative Lynn Woolsey last year. You can order it and pens with pull-out strips showing how much we spend for defense in contrast to other countries at this link.

As if knowing most of our tax dollars are being used for destruction, not construction, is not enough bad news, an April 5 article in the Washington Post, IRS Found Lax in Protecting Taxpayer Data reported, “Thousands of taxpayers could be at risk of identity theft or other financial fraud because the Internal Revenue Service has failed to adequately protect information on its 52,000 laptop computers and other storage systems, a new government report concludes.”

*”T-Day, by Christopher Niemann


Anonymous said...

As we grow increasingly closer to the tax day deadline, as an owner of a small business, I will be unfortunately filing for an extension and hope to gain our extra ordinary tax debt by October of this year, with interest, of course. Most years I don't mind paying taxes that help our children’s schools or provide relief for small businesses such as mine, or fund hospitals in need. The problem I have with the nearly $9,000.00 in taxes our business owes our government is that I can't help but wonder how it will be spent. Will all or part of that go toward protecting one or two soldiers in Iraq by supplying them with bullet proof vests? Can I count on that money being spent to feed or aid underprivileged families? Doubtful. Then I ponder why millionaires, hell, billionaires are exempt from paying any taxes at all. Why I have to 'volunteer' at my child’s school along with many other parents, to assure they receive PE and art classes. I know it's become an old cliché, but good luck House Speaker Pelosi, the military should have to hold a bake sale if they want to spend any more money in Iraq.

Gail Jonas said...

Anonymous (I wish I knew who you are),

I'm also a willing taxpayer when it comes to services that benefit what I describe as the "community."

I'm also willing to pay taxes to prevent injuries to our armed forces and to make sure they have adequate health care when they return.

Even though I'm unhappy abouts so many of our tax dollars going to our destructive efforts to control the world, I'm not willing to withhold them and go to jail.

I know I'm not alone, though I sometimes wonder what would happen if a huge number of people:
1)refused to pay their taxes
2)refused to go off to fight wars