Tuesday, July 10, 2007

T-Rex Tracks Texas Taxis Taxes

Say this about two thousand times fast enough – and you have the US tax code before your very… ears. But worry not – that’s only for income taxes, and chances are you’re not so rich as to be too concerned about all of it. What you should know, though, is the different taxes you pay, how you benefit from them and how they interact.

I was thrilled to read that a prominent rabbi regularly speaks against tax evasion before tax deadlines. I cannot mention his name because it came from an anonymous source, and I was unable to verify the exactitude of the speech contents. But if only tax evasion was mentioned, that rabbi is very mistaken. Tax evasion per-se is not at all easy, is very risky, and for those who make under 100G/yr –the majority of taxpayers- the legal provisions and gray areas are simply far more profitable –certainly less dangerous- than tax evasion. Besides, many taxes are practically unevadable: the sales tax and different taxes calcualted in nearly everything you buy, plus the taxes rolled over at every phase of the raw product until it reaches your hands. A far more widespread ‘hobby’ is abusing the governmental welfare systems. These are more closely regulated by local authorities, which in turn are easier to influence by the voting bases. Although the funding for welfare services such as Medicaid, WIC, Food Stamps, HUD-sec8, Welfare checks, different educational benefits, early intervention and therapies and scores of other ‘government goodies’ formally come from different authorities (Fed, state, county, town etc.,) they all come from the taxpayer’s pockets. Unfortunately, this behavior is ubiquitous in all communities, and not only by communities stereotyped as ‘poor’. Unfortunately even in well-to-do MO places this is the norm. Yes, even people with big PhD’s and MD’s sometimes do not-so-honest things, whatever the reason may be – to be able to show off, to save face instead of begging for a tuition break, what have you.

I sincerely hope that the aforementioned rabbi went thorough all the details and forbade all forms of theft – legal or otherwise. Wrong is wrong, and should be corrected wherever and whenever it emerges. But to use this as a weapon to single out and attack a community in order to show how much better “your” community is, is simply beyond crass. It’s pure hatred and sexual fantasy.

I fully understand that we are overtaxed, and that is a burden. But beating the system is not a solution. In fact, it just adds to the burden. Voting for candidates who would fight overtaxation is a good idea – but those candidates generally oppose too much handouts. If you really want to be a big shot, try a tax revolt. But please don’t milk the government for my buck.

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