Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tax Day

I do my own taxes, and I do not cheat.  I do everything I can to be sure that my filing is as accurate as possible, including reporting the $3.80 in interest made off my savings account last year.  It's really difficult though with our overly complicated tax system.

When I finished our taxes this year, I was shocked.  We, as a family, paid more in mortgage interest last year than we did in federal taxes.  Now, I'm not complaining - given sales tax plus property tax plus federal/state/local income tax, we still pay more in total taxes than any other expense as a family.  I had to go back and double and triple check the numbers, but our software was accurate.  As I watch our national debt spiral out of control and the creation of more and more entitlement programs and the unemployment rate sticking steadily at more than 10%, I can't help but wonder how the federal government can really pay for all this.

If I'm honest with myself, I think we paid less than was fair.  Or rather more accurately, I think that other families in our income bracket and life situation paid less federal tax than was fair, and by extension so did we.  Our country's economic policies are unsustainable, and I cannot see how nearly half of all households benefit from government programs with zero tax liability.  But what do I know?  I'm only in the 1% demographic of this opinion poll.  But apparently I have some unlikely allies who share my belief.

Then again, it's not like receiving more in tax revenue would actually cause the government to pay down its debt - it seems creating more entitlement programs and bigger government is the name of the game.  With more money, they'd increase spending - there's no doubt in my mind.  The news just came out yesterday that our deficit spending was only $1.3 trillion instead of the expected $1.6 trillion, and we're supposed to celebrate this like the Titanic is taking on slightly less water than expected.  If I ran my household like this, we'd be living on the streets for sure.  Or perhaps, off the backs of some other taxpayers somewhere who simply must be footing the bill.