Excerpt from FutureQuest:

Posted: June 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

Excerpt from FutureQuest:
Attitudes toward Tax

When I go shopping I buy myself something by paying my hard-earned money for it. I experience the value of my money being exchanged for goods of that same value and I feel satisfied. When I pay taxes, I don’t experience any exchange of value and I don’t feel satisfied. That is the case even if I drove to do my shopping, on a road paid for by my taxes. I experience no relationship with the road and feel no sense of ownership, even though I use it daily. If the politicians whom I helped elect, promised to build a stadium with my taxes, and then they didn’t build it, I could easily feel dissatisfied or even cheated. I have paid my money and didn’t get the goods for which I paid. Those are very common feelings and often leave us with a dim view of politicians.

Adding to this feeling of dissatisfaction is that much of my tax money is used in government administration costs, which because it mainly happens out of public view, seems to have no tangible value at all. The part of administration that I do see is the immensely complex structure of tax itself because I keep tripping over it everywhere. Every year it requires me to waste my valuable time trying to figure out my tax return, or costs me extra money to hire a tax accountant to do it for me.

I can also see my government hiring buildings they never use, flying to exotic places around the world to attend obscure seminars, or ripping up railway and tram lines that an earlier government laid down with my taxes of just a few decades ago. A well-known Australian businessman once stated that it is necessary to pay taxes to government but not to tip them – they aren’t doing that good a job. It is a widely held view – even from government itself – that government departments aren’t very efficient. That makes paying taxes even more resented and helps cement the negative attitude people have toward taxes.

At this point we must be clear about the fact that it is vitally necessary to pay taxes. This is our social responsibility. If we find ways to avoid paying taxes then we would be unable to build a worthwhile future because our attitude is based on selfishness, which cannot support civilised humanity. Taxes are necessary to maintain civilisation, regardless of how badly our governments administer them.


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