3.28.2008

Political Leanings And April 15

Tuesday night was the last night in what has been a drawn out process of doing my taxes for this year.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, I’m generally apathetic or ambivalent about a lot of political topics, and paying taxes is one of them.

For most of the year, my feelings are mixed—I realize that taxes help pay for important things like education and road maintenance, but at the same time am annoyed at how much of my paycheck goes to the government.

However, when it comes time to file my taxes, my feelings quickly polarize.

The first few years I had to file taxes, I never had enough withheld, and always ended up having to write a sizable check to the IRS. When this happened, I would basically become a libertarian—Taxes are too high! Why do I even have to pay taxes at all? I should be able to spend my money how I want to! After all, the government didn’t earn my paycheck, I did! Why do we even need a federal government?

Then, a couple of years ago, I basically broke even. I owed a little bit to the state of Arkansas, but I got a little back from the Federal government. That was okay, if a little anti-climactic.

Last year, I think I got $300 back, and I was pumped. It was like Christmas! And my opinions changed sharply—Of course taxes are a good thing! I can afford to give some money to the government for the greater good! How could we even function without a federal government? Wasn’t it Thomas Hobbes who said in Leviathan that without government individuals would be in a state of constant conflict and our lives would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”?

So I know what you’re wondering: how did my taxes come out this year? I’m getting almost $800 back.

That’s right; for the next week or so, I’m basically a socialist.


Note to readers: My understanding of taxes, while admittedly limited, is not as simplistic as this post might make you believe. Please refrain from informing me in your comments that whether or not I receive a refund doesn’t actually justify or condemn the current tax system.

2 comments:

Veronica 3/31/08, 9:34 AM  

I know how you feel - I've always had too much withheld, and therefore have never dreaded filing taxes. Until this year, when the State of Maryland and Montgomery County in particular seemed to feel that we owed them more. I, however, feel that we've already given them enough.

Luke 3/31/08, 2:06 PM  

V,

Unfortunately, the government doesn't generally consider such issues to be open for discussion.

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