“PROVOCATIVE” QUESTION 16: GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER MENU

Fandango’s Provocative Question #16

So the question is:


“Should taxpayers have the option to explicitly say what they don’t want their tax dollars spent on?”

I think we settled this during our revolutionary war. We explicitly demanded that only voters can be taxed. We never suggested we have the right to choose what we pay for. We don’t get a menu of selections, check those that suit us and refuse to pay for the rest.

In this benighted world, here’s my neighborhood.

My right-hand neighbor hates cops. He doesn’t want to pay for them.

The guy on the left resents school taxes.  He never had kids. Never wanted them. Doesn’t feel like paying for education no one in his family is going to get.

Down the road, that guy has a big powerful SUV, so he doesn’t care if the roads are plowed or not. If you can’t get through, well, too bad. Why should he pay for your transportation? He’s got his own.

The then there’s the one on the opposite corner. He doesn’t believe in government at all. He doesn’t feel obliged to pay for anything. He’s the creepy guy who wouldn’t turn his hose on if his neighbor’s house was on fire. You want him choosing which taxes to pay? Maybe he’s part of a group and none of them will pay anything at all.

We settled this. Long ago.

Taxes exist in law. We pay them because we are legally required to do so. You don’t have to like anything about the government, governor, Congress, or the school board. Or the cops, the town selectman, or the Mayor.

There are laws and we abide by them.

Government is not lunch where you get to pick whatever you want from any page on the menu. No picking and choosing which parts of the government you support. The closest you can get to that kind of choice is voting for whoever will support the programs you support. That’s what makes a government.

The picking and choosing from different parts of the menu is not a government. It’s lunch.

15 thoughts on ““PROVOCATIVE” QUESTION 16: GOVERNMENT IS JUST ANOTHER MENU

  1. I have a problem with those folks who say “I don’t have children so why should my taxes go towards education?” I don’t even want to sit in the same room with them. I would prefer not to be funding the Wall! Or the separation of children from their parents. But I guess the way to do that is the vote.

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    • Failure to educate is how we GOT to where we are. If we continue to do as badly in the future, it will be even worse and then even worse than we can imagine. Every time we need to cut funds, we cut education. As if education is so unimportant we need not bother with it. We underpay teachers, underfund schools — and then we complain that people are stupid. But gee whiz, we work so HARD to keep them stupid.

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  2. Good point Marilyn. I guess we all get annoyed about paying for things that we don’t use or don’t like. I could say the same about schools but then if we don’t at least try to educate young people what happens in a generation when they are running the country? I might still be alive and I don’t want to see that. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture.

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    • I think we ALL need to look at the big picture. We don’t live in little tribes in caves. We all depend on our government and each other for survival. I NEED my Social Security. I NEED Medicare. We all need roads, even if we don’t personally drive. We need bridges repaired — even if we don’t cross that river. And if our kids aren’t educated? If things are bad now, just IMAGINE how bad they will be when the completely ignorant are in charge.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fascinating take. I happened to have had this same ‘discussion’ with a sibling recently. He was shocked to the core that I said I thought my tax dollars (which are non-existent) were wasted on paying for schools and all that, because like your rather odd neighbor, I never had any children and never wanted them. I’ll explain in my own post which is bubblin’ on the back of the mind stove here… oops! Is that it boiling OVER??

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    • Education benefits us all, as does the fire department, police … and oh yeah, roads. And the military. And the National Parks. If I don’t get to visit every single one of them, I am happy they exist.

      Even if I never drive through Utah, the roads they build in YOUR state are part of the same bill that makes sure my state roads are paved. Government isn’t a pick and choose game. That’s chaos. You can’t run a country that way. I’m not even sure you can run a family that way.

      Vote sensibly, try to make sure other intelligent people vote and don’t be so glib. Not every pol is a bad human being. Yes, the really awful ones are currently in charge, but who put them there? People VOTED those assholes in. We didn’t have a revolution and it wasn’t a military junta. It was voters — and probably the Russians.

      There’s a lot of stuff — like your disability, for example — for which a lot of people don’t want to pay. Or my Medicare and Social Security. There are a million things our government does to keep things going. Take them away and you are back to tribes. Or you, alone, with nothing.

      How’s YOUR tribe. Mine is pretty thin, mostly because they are pretty much all dead. That’s why, before Social Security, most elderly people were dying in poverty as were most disabled people of all ages. We did make a little progress through the years. Before you throw out the bath, make sure the baby isn’t in it.

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  4. I don’t believe the saying “we get the government we deserve”. When candidates run for office they promise, openness, transparency, all the good things we hope for in a government. Well Canada just had its eyes opened yesterday when our former Attorney General gave her testimony. Everything she said was documented and it was most damning and this goes right up to our Prime Minister.

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    • I think people don’t get how MANY laws we pay to enforce, from the military to transporting hazardous wastes to maintaining our national parks. We pay for the police even if no one mugs us or invades our house. We pay for fire even if we never burn down. We pay to roads we will never drive and satellites we’ll never use. I’m not sure ANYONE has read the whole collection because only some are recent. Many are hand-me-downs from long ago (like freeing slaves and social security and who can use the public airwaves) while others just sprang up new from the house.

      Can you even imagine on the worst day of your life, going through that monster document page by page and checking yes/no for every law? Boggles the mind!

      Liked by 1 person

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