Counting your change, but not your dollars

Most people wouldn't let a store overcharge them for a pack of gum, yet most people live their entire lives without realizing how the government steals thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per year from them. In an earlier posting, I mentioned some of the taxes people pay but often don't consider in assessing their tax burden. That burden can easily exceed 50% of your income. Think of everything you purchase with your after-tax income: your mortgage or rent, food, auto payment, gasoline, medical insurance, house and personal property insurance, auto insurance, clothes, drugs, electricity, propane or natural gas, phone service, cell phone service, computers, Internet service, televisions, stereo systems, entertainment, and thousands of other things.

Now consider what the government provides to you in return for taking half or more of your money. Is it worth just as much to you as the dollars you spend? Probably not. In fact, it is probably not even close. The government does a good job of protecting our local and national security, so I won't complain too much about that money, even though much of the military expenditures are wasted. The government also plows the road in front of my house in wintertime, although not nearly as often as it should. The government also helped to educate me, but I paid for most of my education. Therefore, when I compare the value of what I buy with half my income and what the government provides for me with the half it takes as taxes, I don't think that the government is spending my money very efficiently. Every year, billions of dollars seem to vanish in Washington, with no bureaucrat or politician held accountable for it. Money doesn't vanish, of course. The excuse about “we don't know where that five billion dollars went” is just that: an excuse, and a rather shaky one, I might add. Someone knows where that money goes, but when it goes into someone's pocket illegally, the government seems to forget where it went. Ironically, the government would not tolerate this degree of sloppiness from us, the taxpayers. If you as a taxpayer made even 1% of the errors in recordkeeping that the government does, it could fine you and put you in prison. Isn't this a perversion of justice?

The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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