Government and Taxes

There seems to be some confusion as to
what I, and many other folks in the Tea Party, think about government
and taxes. I would like to clarify a bit with some of my reasoning.
My hope is that folks who read this will consider a similar stance.

Taxation is absolutely necessary. Taxes
paid to local, state, and federal governments are to be used for the
common good of the citizens (and legal residents) of this country. To be more specific, to pay for the
creation and maintenance of public infrastructure (such as roads,
bridges, parks, libraries, etc). Taxes are also used to pay for
public services (such as police and fire departments). Taxes should also go for “safety net” services such as Medicare and
Medicaid (the programs that provide free medical attention to low
income persons in the US that so many Americans forget exist), food
stamps and subsidized housing for those who need it, and SSI/SSDI
(the U.S. Version of welfare for folks who have no way of supporting
themselves). Also, taxes are used to fund the military at a level
that keeps the U.S. safe in times of peace or more when at times of war.

I have mixed feeling about Unemployment
Insurance but feel it has a place for folks with lower incomes who
have a much harder time keeping a 3 month emergency fund in the bank.
UI used to help keep a middle class person like myself who has little
excuse for not having the funds saved I have more of a problem with.
This current unemployment spike has brought out many stories of
people choosing not to be employed because they make more on UI than
if they were working. I think UI can become a disincentive for folks
to get serious about finding what they can now and aiming for a
better job later. Also, at this point, it’s been extended to a year
and a half in some States. If you have most of your previous income
still coming in while not working it reduces the motivation to find
something.

There are certainly folks who can not
support themselves for a variety of reasons. I believe this country
should support those folks at a reasonable level that we can all
afford. However, strong checks should be in place to ensure the
system is not abused by people who simply don’t want to work. This
does happen and it needs to be eliminated as much as possible because
these able-bodied folks are effectively stealing from resources that
should rightfully go to those who truly need it.

Now, I’ve talked about what government
should fund. There are many excellent causes I have not spoken about.
Many programs to help people with various difficulties, life
situations, etc. I feel very strongly that non-profit organizations
are the most cost-effective way to provide social services. I say
this because non-profits must compete with each other for donor
money. They must therefore show results in order to succeed. Those
organizations who do not achieve the goals of their organization with
the funds that they acquire will find that the funds get directed to
another organization that does the job better. This creates
competition and enforces accountability.

You see, I strongly support a variety
of charitable organizations. There are some I’ve considered and then
changed my mind because I had to prioritize what I thought was
important. When you have non-profits providing various social
services in a country, I think you will find you discover very
quickly what the nature of that country truly is. When it’s all done
through government taxes many people don’t even know what kinds of
things their dollars are supporting. For instance, the U.S.
Government has chosen to reinstate the funding of abortions in Africa
(http://allafrica.com/stories/200902050768.html).
Now, I would suggest that such funding should come from a non-profit
organization, not U.S. Federal taxes. It happens that I would not
support such an organization, however, I would support other
organizations which provide aid and relief to foreign countries.
Again, when these kinds of programs are done through the Federal
government then money is spent that does not directly benefit me, the
taxpayer.If I want to bless someone else with aid I will do it directly or through a non-profit with a proven track record of making good use of my money.

At this point, the amount of spending
done at City, State, and Federal levels is of such proportion that it
would be difficult to know where it all goes. And, according to some
watchdog organizations, it isn’t possible because of the poor
tracking done.

Even with all of that said, I haven’t
even mentioned, yet, using tax-payer money to prop up failing
businesses or the fact that the U.S. is so far in debt it’s hard to
claim with a straight face that we even have any actual cash left.
The folks in California quite literally ran out of cash and issued
IOU’s for a month or so. It is vital that all levels of government
return to the core necessities, allow non-profits to deliver some of
the services the government is providing now, and start working off
the massive debts at all levels of government. If I were to see that
truly happening, I would even welcome tax increases to help pay the
debt down faster. But I don’t truly expect to see a budget with
significantly less spending than income for a long time, if ever.

About Michael Wigle

I am a servant of Christ who is married and has two children and three grandchildren. For employment, I am the IT Manager and the Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. I also have a wide variety of interests from economics to politics to caving.
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