Death and Taxes
by Peggy Browning
There are only two things that are guaranteed to each of us in this life: death and taxes. Every one of us will die, but before we do…we will pay taxes.
Today is the day we pay up: April 15, 2013. Unless, like me, you are a lazy lug and you had to file an extension.
Death and Taxes
I’ve been giving a lot of consideration to the inevitable death and taxes lately. I read the obituaries every single day. I’ve done that since I was a little kid. And just about every day, I pay some kind of tax. Both are on my mind a lot.
I have a lot of thoughts on the subject of death, but I’ll save those for another time. I’ll just share my thoughts on taxes today. Death and taxes are too heavy for just one blog post.
While I was thinking about taxes today, I pulled out my federal tax return from 2010. It was the only one I could find…so I’ll work from it.
Here’s what I found:
In 2010 I had an adjusted gross income of a little over 40 thousand dollars. That was from working two jobs…a full-time job teaching in a public school and a part-time job working as an usher at an entertainment venue. My taxable income was just a bit over 30 thousand dollars.
I paid $4,295.00 in federal income taxes. In addition to the taxes I sent to the IRS, I also paid $2,150.00 in school, county, and city taxes…property taxes. I don’t know how much I paid in sales tax, except that here in Texas the sales tax is 8.25 % of any taxable purchase. And, believe me…just about everything I bought except for most grocery items, is taxable. I bought a new car in 2010 for approximately $20,000.00. I’ll let you figure the sales tax on that.
So, anyway, I was thinking about what I received for my taxes of approximately $6,500.00, excluding all sales tax.
Here’s what I got for my money:
- A free, appropriate public education for my grandchildren. (In fact…I also received a FAPE…and so did my children).
- A working public sewer system.
- A source of water, piped directly to my home.
- 24/7 Police protection.
- A judicial system that works most of the time.
- 24/7 Fire department protection.
- Paved streets in my mid-sized city.
- Paved alleys in my mid-sized city.
- State parks, federal parks, and city parks.
- A public venue for concerts and sporting events.
- A city councilperson to represent my district.
- A state representative, a state senator, two U.S. senators, and a U.S. representative.
- An infrastructure that supports transportation, electricity, other sources of energy, and fiber-optics for internet service.
- Interstate, intrastate, and farm-to-market highways.
- The FDA to ensure safe medications and treatments, the CDC to research communicable diseases, FEMA and the National Guard to help me in time of disaster.
- A public transportation system in my hometown.
- Access to mental health treatment.
- Access to public health treatment.
- A tornado warning system.
- FCC regulated television and radio stations.
- FAA regulated air travel.
- NOAA weather information.
- Round the clock protection by the military serving in the U.S. and all other foreign assignments.
- The FBI, the CIA, etc.
And those are just a few of the perks of paying my taxes.
Here’s some other perks that make me feel good about paying taxes:
- The young single mother who works with my daughter received food stamps and Medicaid. She also received subsidized child-care and subsidized housing. Her children were well-fed, had medical care when they needed it, had safe child-care, and a suitable home.
- The frail, low-income pensioner received nursing home care through Medicaid.
- The state universities received federal subsidies to provide post-high school education for my neighbor’s children.
- Research hospitals and universities received federal grants for researching ideas from cures and treatments for cancer to better agricultural methods.
- Millions of unemployed people received unemployment benefits that helped save them from total desperation when they lost their jobs…on which, by the way…they pay a 10% federal income tax.
- Dairy farmers received a federal subsidy so that the price of a gallon of milk is still affordable.
That’s just a few of the things for which my taxes pay. Federal, state, county, city, and school taxes…all used to keep our lives and all the perks to which we are accustomed going well.
The two inevitable facts of life are death and taxes. We are assured of both. We can like it or we can lump it. No one looks forward to either of these inevitable forces of life.
Whatever…we will always have death and taxes.