e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Paying Taxes on Pearl Harbor Day

I was writing checks for property taxes and realized that today's feelings about that were different from other years on other dates.

A lot of thoughts came up about that, some relevant to current political issues.   So...here, in what will probably be a less than ideally organized arrangement, they are. 

The United States entered WWII immediately after that attack--an attack that cost something over 3700 American lives (counting deaths at other locations than Pearl Harbor itself.)   I was born in the last year of WWII (early 1945.)   Pearl Harbor was in the immediate background of my childhood--a formative cultural memory.   The parents I knew as a child (all, not just mine) had all experienced the Depression and all remembered Pearl Harbor.   Their ideas about citizenship were shaped by both--and their ideas shaped ours, whether we agreed or rebelled.  

What does this have to do with paying property taxes, you may ask.   Well...back then, where I grew up, complaints about taxes were minimal.   The adults I knew were well aware that public schools, public roads, public hospitals, were all valuable to all...and that we were privileged to live in a country that could provide them...by taxing people who were (in those days) well-employed.   Home ownership had soared, post WWII--and with home ownership came property taxes.  It was a privilege to own a home--and paying taxes was not only a duty, but part of the privilege of ownership. 

So the sour, resentful, negative attitude about taxes, including property taxes,  just wasn't as common as it is now.  The Teapartyers  would've been run out of town on a rail as ungrateful, unpatriotic whiners.   Like everyone else, I can think of things to do with my money other than pay taxes.   But unlike the whiners,  I recognize that what I have comes in large part from being born and raised in a nation of other taxpayers whose honest contributions provided far more for me than I have yet paid back.   Some of it's obvious--the benefits I personally got from public schools and libraries, from state-supported universities, from public roads and safe city water and sewer (yes, I paid a user fee--gladly--but the infrastructure for water also came from property taxes someone else paid in the past) to  tax-funded city, county, state and national parks which provide incredible recreation opportunities for all.  Some of it is less obvious--the tax-funded services that give us weather information, accurate maps,  health and safety data...and on and on.

It really torques me that those who have benefited the most from all the opportunities this nation provides are demanding extended tax cuts when their fellow citizens are still hurting, still unemployed, still losing their homes.  It really torques me that they seem to feel no gratitude for what they've received--that they clearly feel no fellowship with other citizens, no sense of owing anyone anything.  

Paying taxes is both a duty and a privilege...and a thank-you to those who fought for our freedom and those who built and taught in our schools, and built and maintained our roads and bridges, and studied how to preserve and conserve our national res
ources, and all the many other things that tax money was used for, that benefits us and mankind.   I owe it to those who died in the Pearl Harbor attack--and to those who died in WWII and after, both in combat and in peacetime, military and civilians, and those who worked hard for make this country better--to pay my taxes cheerfully, willingly, gratefully. 
Tags: politics., taxes
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