Those Taxation Blues
“Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.” ~Gerald Barzan
Like many of my fellow Americans, I waited till this week to file my taxes. It’s not that I am a habitual procrastinator or a Tea Partier. Nor am I morally opposed to taxation on religious grounds. It’s just that the experience of filling out a 1040 form with all the accompanying schedules is so invariably and extraordinarily stressful. Doing my taxes appears on my Julie Andrews list of Favorite Things, right after “colonoscopy prep.” (Note that Miss Andrews never mentions Schedule D in her song. There are several reasons for that, which I won’t waste time enumerating here, except to say that Mr. Hammerstein obviously had the good sense to realize that sentimentalizing the tax code does not make for socko good theater.)
For a few years in succession, I have used Turbotax. As many know, it does tend to make a pig’s breakfast of your return, but at least you have someone else to blame. Like the man with B.O. who bought a camel because it smelled so much worse.
Besides the stress involved in completing such a complicated tax form is knowing that 53% of my tax dollars will go to pay for an ever ballooning Defense budget. Don’t get me wrong. Defense is a really good idea. The first duty of any government. I just happen to resent having to pay for all those padded invoices (you know, $90,000 for a flush rivet), the bloated salaries of defense industry CEOs, an increasing flood of greedy contractors in the theater that now outnumbers our soldiers, and the daily murder of scores of innocent civilians in a War on Terror that makes the Crimean War look like a tactical marvel. Why do I have to pay for that? I didn’t break it. All this while hatred of America continues to grow worldwide and care of our wounded soldiers and veterans takes a backseat to Pentagon spin.
Here is a modest proposal. How about instituting a voluntary tax (let’s call it the Patriot Tax) for those who wish to fund this war. You know, one of those contributions at the end of the tax form that asks, “Would you like $1 of your refund to go to Save the Red-Bellied Newt or the Congressional Dominatrix Pension Fund?” Or better yet, since some defense spending is certainly justifiable, how about granting us taxpayers the line-item veto? Or perhaps something like a charitable contribution:
Please apply my defense donation toward
__Defense lobbying on Capitol Hill
__Bribing a congressman
__1 machine screw
__Raking a bus full of Afghans
__Where needed most
What many Americans get wrong is that the publicity stunt staged in Boston Harbor in 1773 was not spawned by outrage over having to pay high taxes, but by taxation without representation in Parliament. I think I know how they felt.