Mary and I have just balanced our 2012 budget. We've always had to budget, but with our son attending a private school this year we've really had to get serious about where our money is going. So now, every dollar we spend beyond our carefully categorized commitments, goals and aspirations, and unforeseen calamities - is coming out of our savings.
It's easy for some to say, if I have to balance my budget at home, why shouldn't the Government have to do the same. I have said this. I say this - often. There is one major difference though, underlying the discussion, that I don't get. And, please correct me if I'm wrong on this, but when families set up their budgets, I think they're doing it under a fundamental principle of fairness. Mary and I each know that we're contributing our respective fair share to keep the family on course.
That government on the other hand does not. A fair and transparent tax system, is the one issue that I naively expect my conservative friends and I to agree on. I desperately want to understand how middle and lower class taxpayers can support and protest for legislation to cut taxes and thereby reduced spending on defense and social programs, without first demanding tax equity and accountability on every rung of the socioeconomic ladder.
The inequalities in the supply of our tax revenues seems to be a grotesque hypocrisy glorifying the very injustices that spawned our Nation's independence from the British in the first place. I personally can't understand why anyone would think that they would be entitled to contribute less than their neighbor when it comes to taxes anyhow, much less allow it to be written into law. It seems fundamentally un-democratic.
The United States has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. Poverty is an unacknowledged National disgrace. Food prices are on the rise, and our water is drying up from a climate change that many elected officials refuse to even acknowledge because of a shortsighted and selfish constituency. Will small business, or, big business, or, any one organization make it their business to focus on National and global issues of this nature, without a way to monetize it first?
Meanwhile I'm on a budget, and I'm happy to live in a country where we can have a respectful debate about such matters. What's just a little disturbing though, is that someone else, possibly right down the street, isn't staying up late categorizing their receipts, because they know Mary and me, and millions of other households like ours, has it covered.