If Services Are Provided, Taxes Not to be Dreaded

September 12, 2008

Dear Tico Times:

“When the U.S. sneezes, the entire world gets a cold.” What happens in the U.S. might be imitated by my country. I benefit from your wise choices.

The wording in some of the issues being debated is falling short of its goal. I would like to point out an example: taxes.

Everyone in the U.S. seems to dread paying taxes, because it’s viewed as having to give away a chunk of the income you’ve worked so hard for. As a result, Americans have created a sub-culture geared to minimize the payment of taxes. It’s no surprise, then, that people would cringe when hearing someone talk about tax increases.

I think we all would have a positive attitude about taxes if we were reminded there should be another part to the tax equation: taxes finance services. Taxes should be collected to pay for services that every person should be entitled to.

Unfortunately, however, the last few U.S. governments have lowered or eliminated budgets for these services, creating in place decentralized sub-cultures that don’t service society in an integral way. And, of course, people might not relate to the concept of counting on being served, because it doesn’t exist in their lives.

Taxes should finance care of your aging parents. Taxes should finance care of your children while you go to work. Income taxes should finance education. Taxes should finance maternity and paternity time out from work to care for baby, etc.

Many Americans don’t like taxes because services aren’t being offered in return to tax payment. Much of the tax money is going to finance war, leaving the homefront abandoned.

Tax collection, in my opinion should be carried out as the taxpayer receives the paycheck, without settling scores at the end of the year.

My friend, Anna, in Denmark pays 50 percent of her income in taxes, and her husband pays 60 percent of his, but they can count on services when they need to. For them, government balances its checkbook the same way citizens balance theirs. Money must be in the account before one can spend it, and management of funds must consider all needs.

There’s also a civic component to the equation: Patriotism has as much to do with community as with defending your country.

There are services one might not need, but everyone’s share of taxes allows government to help everyone in order to lower the likelihood of crime, hunger, poverty, ignorance, abuse, anger and stress.

It would be great if Americans chose to increase taxes to increase services, and I wish at the right moment Costa Rica would follow suit.

Silvia Piza-Tandlich

Galería Octágono

 

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