On Taxation

In addition to their tendency to assume that the “rich” merely consume and do not in fact contribute to our economy by providing employment, investing in the stock market, etc., liberals also have an annoying habit of assuming that all Tea Party sympathizers are anarchists.

Allow me to explain what I mean: I have a liberal acquaintance – let’s call him SPA (for “Small Press Author”) – whom I’ve known for a number of years. Generally speaking, SPA is a decent and cordial guy (who, by the way, has great taste in television shows), but every once in a while, he will give in to his lefty impulses and post snooty comments on Facebook like the following:

“If you like maintained roads, regular trash pick-up, and your police force, thank taxation!”

When I see remarks like this, I feel like banging my head against the wall and screaming “Straw man fallacy! Straw man fallacy!” at top volume. We do not dispute the necessity of taxation to cover certain public goods. Where we Tea Party sympathizers differ with liberals, leftists, and free-spending Republicans is in our answers to questions such as:

  • How high should the tax rate be for each income bracket?
  • On what should we spend federal and state tax revenues?
  • Is there ever a time when the spending of our tax revenue on a particular project is not justified?
  • In my experience, most conservatives are willing to finance the following public goods at least partially through their taxes:

  • National Defense
  • Law Enforcement
  • Infrastructure (Roads/Sanitation/Water/Energy/Public Transit)
  • Public Parks
  • Public Education
  • Some Scientific Research
  • Some Social Welfare Spending
  • But here’s the thing: we believe that spending needs to be justified. Even though we grant the necessity of taxing the populace to cover spending in the categories listed above, we will never give the government a blank check to do whatever it pleases with our money.

    Take our infrastructure (please!). If the state of Virginia wants to spend money to make the stretch of I-95 between Quantico and Springfield a little less of a cluster-f***, I’m willing to fork over taxes to pay for it provided the state government can demonstrate that it will go about it in the most cost efficient manner possible. If, however, this hypothetical project becomes NOVA’s version of the Big Dig, there will be political hell to pay.

    Take public education. Again, I’m willing to pay taxes to keep our local schools running provided the district can demonstrate that my money is generating results. If, however, the local district becomes a Washington DC-style sink-hole in which thousands of dollars per pupil is spent to produce functional illiterates, I will put my foot down and refuse to vote for spending increases in education.

    We Tea Party sympathizers are not ticked off because we have to pay taxes. We are ticked off because, as far as we can tell, no government official feels obligated to present a full and understandable account of the government’s spending. Instead, government officials either lie about the true costs of their policies, or they bury their waste in 3,000 page bills – bills which, by their own admission, they don’t even read.

    We don’t want to pay for Representative So-and-So’s Memorial Bridge to Nowhere or Senator What’s-His-Name’s Museum of Art any longer. Enough is enough!

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