Forum Thread

Paying my taxes leaves me conflicted

Reply to ThreadDisplaying 1 - 15 of 30 1 2 Next
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Waited until basically the last minute, but I'm done, taxes are filed. Anyone else wait until the last day like myself? I'm thankful for the internet; e-filing makes tax day much less stressful.

    I am pretty conflicted though, to be honest. On one hand, I feel a certain amount of satisfaction for paying my part of the collective bill it costs to run our nation. This system provides safety, security, opportunity and freedom for myself, my friends and my family. Now, you can argue to what degree on any and all of those points. But the fact remains that we as US citizens have it pretty cozy (as a collective) when compared to all the other countries in the world. I do not believe we are hands down #1, but I do believe we are up there.

    On the other hand though, I have a strong agitation toward having to pay my federal income taxes. And I know I'm not alone in this one. I don't feel my money is going toward things I agree with. I hear of the billions spent on war, the mismanagement of government funds, failed programs, rogue federal organizations with little to no real regulation... I want a receipt for my tax bill. I want a full itemized bill BEFORE I file. Not just with a percentage breakdown, but with a complete breakdown, line for line. As this would be a huge list, you can email it. I'd be cool with that. I'm sure a solid percentage goes towards things that I do agree with: healthcare, social systems (to an extent), education (to an extent), roads, police, some military. I just feel that too much of our tax dollars are unfairly thrown around by government officials and their programs, and it all just irritates me that with the advent of the internet taxes aren't more efficient and transparent.

    Anyone else feel this way? Patriotic and happy to pay your fair share, but irritated at the handling of all OUR money by the few in government?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    The Official Federal Budget is available for viewing (many expenditures are classified, so you can't get a complete itemized list). Is this what you are talking about. Also, we live in a Democracy. We have some say in where our taxes are spent, but that say becomes smaller and smaller as more and more people become part of the system. If you are unhappy with how the money is being spent then you have the power to vote out the person that represents you, the only catch is that other people have to agree with you. So then it falls upon you to convince them. Which is one of the reasons this website exists. Identify and address issues reasonably and logically to try and find the best way to administer public policy.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Dallas, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Thanks Zach. I will check out that site. I have seen breakdowns before; I do understand that we have some clarity and transparency in tax allocations. But, the data out there still leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion.

    Also, while I think I have a good grasp on what a democracy is and how it should in theory run (in rudimentary terms), I still feel this way. Having said what you said in response, is it safe to assume that you do not feel conflicted? I find that hard to believe..

    Perhaps what you are saying is that my response is too broad stroked. That I am complaining without a good idea of how the system operates, and my place in it... I know that I can take part in voting out my representatives. But, even that process leaves a person feeling less than satisfied.

    I do not have many specific policy answers (at least not ones that I thought worth bringing up in this particular thread). Although I do think a real line by line tax receipt that everyone gets would more properly educate all of us collectively and would allow people to better understand where their tax money actually goes. The more we for sure know where our money is going, the more we can intelligently elect and sway politicians and policy. A website that's shows some breakdown isn't detailed enough and isn't in anyone's face enough. It shouldn't just be for people that knew what to google. The breakdown should be a receipt for paying a bill, like any other service does. When you go to grocery store, everything is labeled. Then you get an itemized receipt afterward. You don't just grab a cart full of want you want with a vague understanding of their collective cost and pay whatever the teller asks, without a full breakdown receipt. Yet, that's more or less how we pay taxes. Feel free to pick apart that analogy.. was just the first that came to me..

    I was just looking to vent a bit and to start a conversation. Original question still stands, do Democratic Hub folks feel conflicted when paying their income taxes? Or maybe a better question, how does paying your taxes once a year make you feel? And maybe to spice up the thread, if you do feel conflicted and are smarter than I, how do you feel we should bridge the gap so that most everyone feels just happy to pay, and not irritated as well?
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Denton, TX
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    After re-reading my reply I see how I may have come off as patronizing or condescending and I didn't mean too.

    I totally am conflicted on how our government operates. Which is why I am on this site. And yes, I think your comment is very broad. Which isn't a bad thing, it just makes it hard to address concisely.

    The Federal Budget isn't exactly a line item receipt, but it does lay out how the money is being spent. The thing is, it's not simple. It's complicated and really boring to read, and there is a lot of it. Which is why very few people know or even care to read it. I haven't read it, and probably won't.

    My point with the Democracy comment is that it still has drawbacks, especially ones with large populations. The more people the less influence each individual has over the system. Also, more people means more ideas and no one will ever agree on everything. So, I would argue that you should be conflicted. It's a good thing to be conflicted, especially if they only way to not be conflicted is to not care,
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    I don't have any problems with paying taxes as our taxes are a lot lower than many other countries. Probably the best way to look at taxes is how much we are paying as a percent of our GDP. In that respect, the USA is one of the lowest.

    The Atlantic: How Low Are U.S. Taxes Compared to Other Countries?

    The last graph is the most indicative.

    So I don't have a problem with the amount of taxes I pay. However, like others, I do have a problem with how much we disproportionally spend on the military. We spend 4.2 percent of our GDP on military expenditures, over 2-3 times that of many European countries.

    The World Bank, Military expenditure (% of GDP)

    So we need to phase in cuts to military expenditures to a more realistic level. As Dutch and others have pointed out in this website, there is a lot of waste in the military...especially in buying expensive fighter jets that are of little use in fighting terrorism.

    We also need a more equitable distribution of taxes paid. Ever since the Reagan years, the rich and super rich have paid less as a percentages of their gross income while more of the burden has fallen on the middle class. We need to go back to the pre-Reagan years where the middle class fared better in terms "carrying the tax burden load".

    No one has been able to convince me why the super rich...the Waltons, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers and others should receive tax breaks at the expense of social programs that benefit the poor and middle class. But that's the mentality of Tea Party libertarians, many of whom despise the poor...the Reagan "welfare queens".
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Here's a broad breakdown for fiscal year 2013:

    Expenditures: $3.5 trillion (21 Percent of GDP)
    Tax Revenues: $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)

    I agree with you Schmidt. We do need a far more fair tax system. A few little tweaks to it can have a lasting impact. I also believe that we need to reevaluate spending 19 percent of our budget on military expenditures during a time of peace. People can always throw out the word 'terrorism' but if we continue to spend the amount of money we do to combat an ideology then we will spend and bomb ourselves into bankruptcy.

    We also need to take a long hard look at the bottom part of these numbers. One percent on education. Three percent on something as important as making sure our highway's and bridges are safe. Two percent on Science and research. How did our national priorities get so out of whack? While it's frustrating, I'm not suggesting that I'm just ready to give up. It hasn't always been this way and we can change it if we demand it as a citizenry. My only worry is that we will have another lone wolf terrorist do something and the population will demand even more money spent defending something that is impossible to defend against.
  • Independent
    Mobile, AL
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Conflicted is a good description....I really can't say that I like writing that check to the IRS, but at the same time I am thankful that I can. I practice selective 'head in the sand' behavior regarding the use of all the tax money. I'm willing to support my government and appreciate the benefits that I reap from that government...for the most part. I just try to convince myself that my portion of taxes will go to help with health care, education, vet benefits (instead of to the war that produces the vets), etc. Overall, I find myself proud to pay my portion of the cost of maintaining this country. I live in one of the extremely 'red' states that receives much more from the federal government than we send in, so I'm constantly amazed at my fellow citizens who berate (bite?) the hand that supports them. I can't quite understand how a state that receives about $1.70 for every $1.00 sent in taxes can complain about they are being gouged by the federal government, or how they think this state would survive without the assistance of the rest of the country...go figure.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    jared I believe you are incorrect when you say ..."we need to reevaluate spending 19 percent of our budget on military expenditures during a time of peace"...

    I can agree with you that we need to reevaluate our spending on the military, but why do you say ..."during a time of peace"...?

    We SHOULD be at peace.

    We COULD be at peace.

    But, the fact is we are still at war thanks to President Obama.

    It is true that we are supposedly winding down the war in Afghanistan (five years too late), and in March there were no servicemen/women killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan and that is a great thing. But for 133 months in a row before March, servicemen/women WERE killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. So, yes, we are still at war. After 133 months in a row of killings, one month in a row of no killings does not equal peace. Sorry, I am not buying that.

    THANKS President Obama! Thanks from all those who love war and waste and needless killing.
  • Center Left
    Independent
    Charlotte, NC
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    jamesn Wrote:But, the fact is we are still at war thanks to President Obama.

    So you honestly believe we are at war due to one man....Even be it the President. That is incorrect. You say "We SHOULD be at peace" and "We COULD be at peace". But we are not due to Obama? I'm sure you realize what Jared is saying by "at peace". He is not referring to everyone (all countries) having tea together cheerfully today. He is referring to the state of the U.S as of today vs what it has been.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    jamesn Wrote: jared I believe you are incorrect when you say ..."we need to reevaluate spending 19 percent of our budget on military expenditures during a time of peace"...

    I can agree with you that we need to reevaluate our spending on the military, but why do you say ..."during a time of peace"...?

    We SHOULD be at peace.

    We COULD be at peace.

    But, the fact is we are still at war thanks to President Obama.

    It is true that we are supposedly winding down the war in Afghanistan (five years too late), and in March there were no servicemen/women killed in either Iraq or Afghanistan and that is a great thing. But for 133 months in a row before March, servicemen/women WERE killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. So, yes, we are still at war. After 133 months in a row of killings, one month in a row of no killings does not equal peace. Sorry, I am not buying that.

    THANKS President Obama! Thanks from all those who love war and waste and needless killing.
    I think you may have misread what I said, or I didn't state my argument clearly enough. I'm using the literal definition of peace when it comes to fighting wars. I'm not, nor have I ever, suggested that we do not have soldiers fighting and dying right now.

    We as a country have technically been at peace since the end of World War II. The United States Congress, the legislative body that is Constitutionally obligated to declare war, has not made one declaration of war since World War II: December 8, 1941 (Japan), December 11, 1941 (Germany and Italy), and June 5, 1942 (Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania). We have had multiple military engagements since then, but not one declared war. So when I use "time of peace" I'm saying it based off my understanding of how our Constitutional structure is intended to work.

    Once we get over the verbiage misunderstanding, I feel that you may understand my thinking more if you reread what I wrote. I fully agree with you that we need to dramatically cut military spending, as I stated in my earlier reply. I also stated that it's insane for our country to continue spending hundreds of billions of dollars fighting an ideology. We will never 'defeat' an ideology, no matter how many trillions of dollars we throw at it.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    Clay you are wrong. We are at war in 2014 because of one man: President Obama.

    When he was elected I was so happy that he was going to get us out of Iraq AND Afghanistan. He was elected for several reasons, but the most important were that he was not George Bush and he was going to be a peace president, he was going to get us out of useless and wasteful wars and bring peace to the USA.

    It didn't happen. I still don't know why.

    For some reason still unknown to me he decided to expand the war in Afghanistan which accomplished NOTHING before he became president, and has accomplished NOTHING since he became president. If I am wrong, please correct me. What have we accomplished?

    He could have, and should have decided to end the war which was wasting lives, and blood, and money, and ruining families and was accomplishing NOTHING for the USA.

    It's Bush's fault for getting us into this stupid war and it is Obamas fault for keeping us in this stupid war.

    News flash: The USA is still at war.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    News flash Jamesn - where are all these military people going to find work when Obama brings them home? Sorry, but you are simply not a realist.as much as I'm against war and this useless, needless Afghanistan one even I realize Obama can't and isn't about to bring the troops home all at once even if he could. You waste far, far too much time on being angry with Obama instead of the reasons why he does what he has to do. He certainly deserves criticism on more than one front but constantly crying over things like his "lies" is not only counterproductive it's supporting the enemy (Conservative, Republicans). No politician can be expected to tell the truth all the time because the truth means different things to different people and the truth isn't necessarily what people need to know, much less understand.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    jared don't feel left out, you are wrong, too.

    ..."We as a country have technically been at at peace since the end of WWII"...? Seriously? Technically? That is a useless term to people fighting and dying, and their family members. Korea doesn't count? Vietnam? And the other "conflicts"? Do the surviving family members of the tens of thousands killed and wounded in those "CONFLICTS" alone not count. Do THEY think their loved ones did not die in a war?

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck,...it's a duck. These were wars, no matter what our brainless, compassionless, clueless, useless, corrupt, defenseless politicians call them. Hundreds of thousands servicemembers deployed, tens of thousands killed, hundeds of thousands wounded...what else would you call it?

    What would be the word...if not war? Conflict? Police action? Dispute? Argument? Spat? Disagreement?

    What other word is there to describe tens of thousands dying for their country?

    This thing in Afghanistan is WAR. There is no other word.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    jamesn Wrote: Clay you are wrong. We are at war in 2014 because of one man: President Obama.

    When he was elected I was so happy that he was going to get us out of Iraq AND Afghanistan. He was elected for several reasons, but the most important were that he was not George Bush and he was going to be a peace president, he was going to get us out of useless and wasteful wars and bring peace to the USA.

    It didn't happen. I still don't know why.

    For some reason still unknown to me he decided to expand the war in Afghanistan which accomplished NOTHING before he became president, and has accomplished NOTHING since he became president. If I am wrong, please correct me. What have we accomplished?

    He could have, and should have decided to end the war which was wasting lives, and blood, and money, and ruining families and was accomplishing NOTHING for the USA.

    It's Bush's fault for getting us into this stupid war and it is Obamas fault for keeping us in this stupid war.

    News flash: The USA is still at war.
    CNN Politics, July 2008: Quote from then Senator Obama during his campaign for President:

    Sen. Barack Obama said Sunday that United States needs to focus on Afghanistan in its battle against terrorism.

    "The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

    "I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

    Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.

    "For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three," he told CBS. "I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough."


    Those quotes are from July 2008. He said them more than once...during the debates and in interviews. Surprised?

    Regarding Iraq, how many troops are there now?
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
    Are you sure you want to delete this post?
        
    pgr it's your turn.

    The reason I'm angry with Obama is that is is politicians like Obama, Bush, and the mostly corrupt Congress that sends them off to war.

    The US Army does not send themselves off to war, they are sent off to war by our worthless political "so called leaders", most of whom do not have a clue about what it means to serve in the military. And when President Obama constantly LIES about Obamacare or any other subject, he has done it to himself. I merely point out the facts of his LIES.

    You can justify his LIES all you want, but that doesn't change what he did. He lied, over and over and over...

    Again, it's the sorry, no account, low down, useless political "leaders" who send our servicemen/women off the kill others and be killed. FOR NOTHING!

    EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM SHOULD HAVE TO PUT A UNIFORM ON AND BE DEPLOYED TO A WAR ZONE BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO VOTE ON SENDING OTHERS OFF TO WAR.

    TELL ME IF I'M WRONG.