April 15th is a day that elicits a strong emotion in many of us Americans. While millions of Americans have already filed their Federal Income taxes, there are always millions more procrastinators out there who wait until the final minute to submit their paperwork. Everyone has their own reasons for doing their taxes when they do them. Most people who know they will be receiving a tax rebate have filed their taxes long ago while the last minute stragglers tend to be those individuals who will most likely owe money. Regardless of what category you find yourself in, it is imperative to understand the importance of filing your taxes or requesting an extension by April 15th.
The Federal Income tax has been a hot button issue since the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment of the Constitution. The rise of the Tea Party (Taxed Enough Already) movement came about by disgruntled citizens who feel they are taxed too much and aren't being properly represented by our legislators. While many of their arguments are misguided or outright falsehoods, the movement has been rather successful in stoking the anger of a big chunk of the populace when it comes to where their hard earned tax dollars are going.
Misinformation is rampant when it comes to where your tax dollars go. Many Americans have the false belief that the taxes they pay are wasted by the Federal Government and that they will never see a return on their investment. While you will get no argument from me that there is waste in our Government, I am here to suggest that paying your Federal Income taxes is one of the most patriotic things a citizen can to make this country of, by, and for the people more prosperous and better for all of us.
Before we go any further, let's take a look at where our Federal Income taxes are spent for fiscal year 2013:
: $3.5 trillion (21 Percent of GDP)
: $2.8 trillion
Defense and International Security Assistance: 19 Percent
Social Security: 24 Percent
Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP: 22 Percent
Safety Net Programs (Not Social Security, Medicaid, Medicaid, and CHIP): 12 Percent
Benefits for Federal Retirees and Veterans: 8 Percent
Transportation and Infrastructure: 3 Percent
Education: 1 Percent
Science and Medical Research: 2 Percent
Non-Security International Assistance: 1 Percent
Other: 2 Percent
Interest on National Debt: 6 Percent
Source: (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Looking at these numbers lays bare where our current priorities are and shows me that we have come up woefully short when it comes to investing in things that will move our nation forward, but that doesn't mean that I'm willing to throw my arms in the air and give up. Some simple readjustments to what we consider priorities can have a lasting impact on where we head as a country into the 21st Century.
I firmly believe our social safety net programs are of vital importance and cutting them will have an adverse impact on millions of people in this country. I also firmly believe we need to dramatically cut our defense budget and use some of those savings to invest in education, science, transportation, and a multitude of other projects that will better this wonderful nation of ours.
It is long past time to recognize that investing in our nations future is the highest form of patriotism we can ever show.