Help! I Voted for Taxes and I Can’t Pay Up!

The headline [ 6/2/14] reads:

Liberal Austin [TX] homeowners surprised to find they have to pay all the taxes they voted for

The article states:

“I’m at the breaking point,” said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

“It’s not because I don’t like paying taxes,” said Gardner, who attended both meetings. “I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can’t afford to live here anymore. I’ll protest my appraisal notice, but that’s not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture.”

Here’s an idea. Instead of everyone being required to pay taxes for everything, why don’t we change it to: Those who wish to purchase a product or service will purchase that product or service. If they don’t want it, they won’t pay for it.

Like parks? Want to see a particular park created and you plan to use it? Then contribute to the fund and buy entrance rights.

“No,” I’m sure this tax-loving artist will shriek. “The park must be for all — and paid by all who can!” Why? We don’t do that with other things like automobiles, vacations, computers, telephones, Netflix subscriptions, or microwave ovens. Why must we do it with parks, libraries and schools? “Schools are essential for society!” So is food. People will die without food, for sure. Our lives depend a heck of a lot more on food than these mediocre, overpriced union-rigged monstrosities we call public schools. But we don’t expect taxes to pay for food (leaving aside food stamps, which most people don’t use for food — at least not yet.)

This Austin TX artist wants people to feel sorry for her. She’s whining like she’s some kind of victim. Give me a break! She voted for these taxes herself. She even acknowledges it.

Has she learned from her mistake? Has she changed her position, realizing that it’s unfair to force people to pay for parks, products, libraries or services they might not want or need? No way. She acknowledges no responsibility whatsoever. Instead, she says “someone” must step in and “address the big picture.”

Address the big picture? What the hell does that mean?

She has no clue. But somebody should, and that’s the end of it. This is the moronic, willfully ignorant attitude of the pseudo-sophisticated which is bringing us down.

When a society is dominated by rationality and reason, it’s always possible to correct errors, grow and improve. That’s not what’s happening in America. As taxes get higher and things get tighter, the majority refuse to face the obvious. Instead, like this artist in Texas, they simply complain that it’s not fair and something has got to be done about it.

It’s the very same mindset that got us into this mess in the first place. “We need a library. Someone has got to build one.” Or, “It would be nice to have a park on that corner. One ought to be built.”

Eventually, tax bills have to skyrocket. We haven’t seen this at the federal level as much as we might have, because the federal government — having the (extra-Constitutional) power of the Federal Reserve — can simply inflate the currency; or expand the national debt into tens of trillions of dollars, as it’s currently doing. But state and local governments have no such power. Many state governments are even required to balance their budgets. As a result, people like Gretchen Gardner start to feel the pinch when years upon years of, “There ought to be a law” or “Somebody ought to build that” impulses pile up.

Gretchen Gardner is part of the majority. It’s a majority, nationally speaking, who keep voting into office the worst of our politicians. The politicians who keep winning are the equivalent of Gretchen Gardner, only on the national level those libraries and parks translate into trillions and trillions of inflated dollars and incomprehensible national debt that will never be paid off — but will surely, all the same, come due.

Property taxes are a punishment for pleasure and success. They’re “progressive” in nature, just like the income tax. The more successful you are, and the nicer place you can afford, then the more you have to pay for all kinds of things you might or might not want or need. On top of it all, these things are purchased by the state or federal government, meaning it’s done with as little cost-consciousness and accountability as possible.

In what universe does any of this make sense? At what point in time will people start to recognize the disconnect between what they’re telling their elected leaders to do and the actual impact it has on them?

The “bigger picture” means standing back and correcting your errors. You can’t hire (or vote in) someone else to do this for you. Grow up, Gretchen Gardner. And grow up, America.

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