500 Words — Day Thirty Nine: Taxes
Today, I filed my federal taxes and should be getting some extra money that the government got to borrow for a few months. The so-called tax refund. I don’t really mind though because I would hate to have to pay on top of the money that was already withdrawn. However, there’s no interest applied to the refund, so ideally you want that number to be as small as possible granted you are productively using that money. Given that most saving accounts have very small yield, it doesn’t really seem to make that much of a difference unless you are really in the crunch for cash.
With regards to taxes, I don’t mind paying taxes to fund government projects and support my country, my state, and my local governments. I don’t mind paying to repair or enhance infrastructure, paying for policemen and firefighters, as well as giving money to teachers to educate the next generation. As long as some productive service is being provided or some service is being utilized to reduce risk and protect people’s life, liberty, and property, I am generally in support. Despite all of that, I will still complain about taxes.
My problem with taxes is not the taxes in themselves, but the ways those taxes are structured and the way those taxes are spent. In my opinion, too much money goes to the federal government and too little money goes to the local government. The pyramid is inverted in the wrong direction. All communities have different problems, but at the federal level, it seems that often the specific concerns of the communities are abstracted away into very general problems. It is impossible at the federal level to understand the nuances of different localities so the best they can do is attempt to find patterns in these problems and find a general solution to fix it. And that’s the best they can do. And as we all know, the federal government doesn’t exactly hire the best and brightest nor does it cooperate to find innovate solutions to even those general problems. Because of this, a lot of money that goes to Washington, never finds it way back to the community or even the state where it came from.
If localities had more money, since they know the issues directly, they would be more equipped to solve them. And if the dynamic was reversed and people were putting more money into their communities and less money into Washington DC, they would be more inclined to care and participate in local government rather than delegate all the blame towards national politicians that barely know they exist. Granted, not all communities have the same amount of resources to solve their problems. This is where states come in. They should be able to redistribute some of that tax revenue to plug in the holes as needed. Granted, we should be careful in that redistribution to avoid the expectation of asking for money versus being tactful and strategic with localized constraints. Otherwise, we risk delegating the responsibility upward which is where we find ourselves today. Trying to solve problems that require specialized tweezers with a generalized sledgehammer. It doesn’t really work and is incredibility inefficient.