A Thought About Taxes

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

– Benjamin Franklin

Franklin’s immortal words resonate loud and clear here in the United States as the tax filing deadline nears. Interesting how Franklin paired the constructs of death and taxes together. Some may rather die than paying taxes.  But either way, neither is avoidable.

First, I have no problem with the concept of taxes as revenues to the government.  After all, the government needs revenues to pay for road construction and maintenance, for policing our neighborhoods to maintain peace and order, for public educations of our children.  No argument there.

But as they say, the devil is in the details.  Questions like how much to tax and where are the taxes come from concern equity, economy, and priority of the very community where the revenues came from.  In a sense, tax compliance by the citizens is a reflection of or a grade on the performance of the government.

No wonder that tax reform is a perennial election favorite. Terms like progressive taxes, flat taxes, simplified taxes, all suggest there is a need for change.  However, little result materializes after the election is over.

What is your thought on taxes?  A necessary evil, a citizen’s obligation, or something else? Could the taxes ever be equitable for all?

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