Posted by: silverback | 2010/03/13

having our cake

this morning i heard about the unrest in Greece surrounding their government’s decision to lay off thousands of federal employees to reduce the deficit and attempt to start balancing the budget there. of course, there are thousands of people protesting the same actions by the government, because they are putting so many middle-class people out of a job. in perhaps an ill-conceived strategy, many of the public workers whose jobs may be at stake have begun striking to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. somewhat ironically, the same population is unwilling to pay more taxes. it doesn’t help matters that the Greek government is widely perceived to be corrupt; apparently many of the tax collectors would take an envelope full of cash under the table before requiring taxes to actually be paid.

closer to home, the State of California has been struggling with the same problem for several years. the State budget there cannot be balanced by lawmakers, because they are simultaneously unwilling to cut expenses or increase revenues in the form of tax increases. meanwhile, the state continues to limp along somehow on record deficits, increasingly bad credit, and a legislative standoff of epic unreasonableness.

from the San Jose Mercury News:

“While Democrats are expected to make a play for tax hikes, Republicans can be counted on to push back. Both fear voter revolt in an election year, creating the likelihood of political stalemate and yet another drawn-out budget tug-of-war.”

mullet included with bandana purchase!

proving once again that partisan politics celebrates ineffectiveness. the state is expected to post a $21 BILLION shortfall this year. their bonds are trading at junk rates, and the state is issuing IOU’s to its creditors and its workforce. the same California lawmakers are subject to self-enacted requirements of 2/3 majority votes to either approve a budget or to increase taxes. my sense of outrage is stirred by the fact that the same government that would put me in jail for such shenanigans continues to operate by issuing what are essentially worthless checks. i wish i could tell my creditors to suck it, then continue spending wantonly, comfortable in the knowledge that the problem could remain unaddressed until the next election cycle.

i assure you the Internal Revenue Service was not willing to accept an IOU from me when i was unable to pay my balance due last April. they allow me to keep my paycheck, my domicile, and my freedom (in that order), so long as i make my negotiated monthly payment on or before the 21st of each month. penalties and interest, by the way, continue to accrue.

since these elected officials are ultimately representing the wills of their constituents, we citizens are also contributing to the logjam. we’ve lined up on our respective sides, conservatives staunchly opposed to any more taxes, proposing instead “smaller government,” trimming spending on all programs except those pet projects involving defense and government subsidies of unsustainable industries (such as corn, beef, and oil). liberals, on the other hand, remain proponents of maintaining the status quo for current social programs, supporting tax increases on “the rich,” or more specifically, on those in any tax bracket not their own. so we’ve picked sides and we’re lined up against our gymnasium walls, waiting for the coach to call the start of the dodgeball game. i sure hope none of us in the middle gets whacked with a flying wrench.

i myself would be happy to pay more taxes if i thought i could trust my elected boondogglers to use it to improve America for the benefit of its citizens. i would also approve of massive spending cuts if my government displayed any intention of using globally-plentiful techmology to improve its across-the-board efficiency. a quick visit to your state’s DMV (i am aware of the oxymoron) ought to dispel any confidence in that potential.

perhaps i could write the IRS and inform them that my wife and i have been unable to reach a 2/3 majority in our decision to pay the tax bill. barring that, i could claim that we’ve begun a process of reconciliation that should result in some resolution to take action of some sort with only a 51% majority. so the bill will be paid, unless we can’t afford it, in which case the issue will have to be addressed by the next administration.


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