Monday, April 21, 2008

Check please!

This was originally supposed to be LAST Tuesday’s post, but I’ve been a slackbitch (blog-wise; I’ve been pretty busy, otherwise) and didn’t get it written.

Let me start with a confession. I don’t complain about taxes. I’ve always felt that taxes were my share of the pot. In order to have good schools, good roads, police, fire and ambulance, libraries—you know, the things we all take for granted, but would hate to be without. I’m happy to pay my share of those.

Odd that I should come to embrace that philosophy. You see, all of my life, I’ve heard bitching about taxes. As I’ve grown older, in fact, I can’t recall coming across anyone who thought they weren’t paying too much in taxes. In Texas, at least, the argument always seems to be a variation on the same theme.

“I don’t want my tax dollars going to help some welfare mother who won’t get a job!!”

Now, I’m not sure when welfare was the biggest ticket item in the federal budget. I’m guessing NEVER. But it’s such a widespread belief that our tax dollars are being mishandled that NO politician can survive even a discussion about raising taxes, even if it’s necessary and the right thing to do. Read my lips? Big mistake.

I’ve also noticed that the most rabid anti-tax people seem to be a perfect demographic overlay of the pro-gun/NRA types. Which makes this breakdown of how our tax dollars are actually spent even more rich with irony.

See, it’s not the welfare moms who are eating away our precious dollars. It’s the military. And lest you start thinking that these numbers are skewed due to the ongoing (neverending?) conflict in Iraq, these numbers actually pre-date the war (hey, the government moves slowly in releasing numbers—these are the latest available, best I can tell).

So, in case you were wondering, here’s how a tax dollar gets spent:

31 cents for military (including 6 cents in interest on debt and 3 cents for veterans benefits)
20 cents in (non-military) interest on the national debt

Okay, let’s pause for a minute. Because now I’M starting to rethink my commitment to taxes. Nearly a third of our tax dollars go to the military? At a time when the world is essentially at peace (except for our warmongering) we are spending at these levels? Can’t imagine what that percentage looks like now that we’re pushing a TRILLION in Iraq expense. Are you fucking kidding me?

Obscene. I find this exponentially more offensive than my conservative brethren find the support of welfare moms.

The next highest? 18 cents on health. Okay, I can live with that. Public Health is a very good thing. Not sure how well that money is spent (okay, not sure how well ANY of this money is spent) but I can swallow it.

Then it gets RIDONCULOUS:

6 cents on income security
3 cents on education

Wait. THREE cents on education?!?!?!? ONE-TENTH of what we spend on military?
How the fuck can you leave no child behind with that level of spending? You can’t even afford to take SOME children with you. Sad, sad, sad.

2 cents on nutrition
2 cents on housing
2 cents on environment
.3 cents on job training

There’s another 15% in there, but it’s broken down into increasingly smaller portions that will just make you cry. Of course, those TINY percentages are always the ones to get cut in the name of “budget.”

Funny, if you applied a tenth of the military spending to education, it would DOUBLE the money we spend in this country. But what would we do with a more educated populace? Not elect Republicans, that’s for sure.

Isn’t it time we took care of our own? Instead of spending all of our money on foreign soil, why can’t we spend a little more here at home? I’m not advocating for doing away with the military, just thinking maybe we need to be a little less of a big brother to everyone else and maybe a little more responsible to those of us at home.


hokgardner said...

You liberal tree-hugger you. I can't believe you want to provide education and health care for welfare moms!

Anonymous said...

doesn't it make perfect sense to you? if we keep our population poorly housed, underfed and ignorant, the military in its largess becomes a beautiful and inviting option (last resort) for our young upright citizens. better cannon fodder than draining our vibrant economy

Anonymous said...

tis a blue day indeed when I have to pull myself from the down comforter of denial to greet the bitter dawn of reality. I long for the valium days of childhood.

Matty D said...

I'm with ya...though a pie chart would have been awesome!