Tuesday 25 Oct 2016

Well-directed Anger
AJ Robinson

This is tax season. This is when people grumble and gripe about how much they pay, and about all the freeloaders who sponge off the government. Of course, the GOP is great at pointing out all the members of the “47%” that don’t pay their fair share, but just lie around and suck up government handouts. Oh yes, they love to get their base enraged at the lazy poor and unemployed who drink deep at the government trough.

Here’s the thing: that ain’t necessarily so. Would you care to know the breakdown of your taxes? If not, don’t bother reading further, because that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Okay, first, if you make about fifty thousand dollars per year and pay the normal tax rate, here’s how your tax dollars get spent. First off, about $250 of your taxes are set aside for defense spending. Next, there’s disaster relief. These are programs like FEMA, which everyone loves to have around following a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or other natural disaster. Your tax contribution to those programs amounts to just under $4.

Yeah, that’s right, less than four dollars for FEMA and other forms of disaster relief. Call me crazy; I’d call that money well spent. What can you buy for that amount of money these days?

Now, let’s move on to the programs that the GOP always love to slash. The first of those is unemployment insurance. You tax contribution to that programme is only around $23. Think of that: under $25 per year is all it costs you to help people who are facing financial hardships because they lost their job!

The next programme on the GOP chopping block is one of their favorites to savage is Food Stamps. The last time I heard a republican talk about the program, he must have used the phrase “waste, fraud and corruption” four times in under a minute! Now, I’ll admit, this programme does cost you a bit more than UI. Would you care to guess how much?

Well, it is less than $37 a year for you to support SNAP. The programme helps to feed children, families in need, and even veterans, and your tax dollars amount to less than dinner for two at a decent restaurant.

Is the programme really in need of being trimmed?

If you think that’s something, wait until you hear what your contribution to welfare amounts to, because you probably won’t believe it. Let me put it this way: welfare costs you less than the price of a movie! The amount of your federal taxes that support the welfare programme is under $7 a year. Oh yeah, let’s cut that program, it is a true money drain on the economy.

Now, we move on to the last two biggies, and the first is important to you. It is the taxes you pay that go toward your own Medicare. As that is the healthcare programme you are going to rely on in your old age, let’s face it, it is mega important. The fact that a little over $235 of your own taxes goes to Medicare makes sense.

Now, we come to the last, the biggest of them all, the one item that the vast majority of your tax dollars go to pay. Would you care to hazard a guess as to how much that is and what it goes. The amount is right around $4,000, and this is the money given to various corporations to subsidies them!

Let’s “do the math,” as the saying goes, shall we? Out of all of the taxes you pay to the federal government each year, $67 takes care of UI, SNAP and welfare, and $4,000 goes to businesses that make billions in profits annually.

The next time a republican politician or pundit rants about the lazy poor bleeding you dry, ask who is truly lazy and who is truly bleeding you?

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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