Sunday, March 12, 2006

It's said that nothing is certain except death and taxes. I talked about death a few days ago, so how about a few words on taxes?

Agnes and I met with the nice lady at H&R Block the other evening to review our final returns for the 2005 tax year, and were pleasantly surprised to find that we are getting substantial refunds both from the Federal Government and from Virginia. My first reaction was, "Great!" My second reaction was, "Gee, I sure could have used that money during the year." And my third reaction, as it is every year, was "It's wrong that I have to pay someone to do this for me."

I don't mind paying taxes. I recognize that government needs a source of revenue to operate and provide essential common services, and as a citizen, I'm responsible for paying my fair share. My only problem is that we no longer have a tax system that provides for running the government...we have a tax system that's designed for social engineering and the reward of special interests. The proliferation of deductions, rules, tables, alternatives, and other balderdash has turned our tax system into an impenetrable morass that the average citizen can't understand. And then, having made the system so complicated you can't understand it, our government imposes draconian penalties (and interest!) on you if you make any mistakes. We need an entire industry devoted to tax preparation and filing, along with various do-it-yourself software programs that helps you navigate the treacherous shoals of the tax system.

I could go on (and I will, in later posts), but for now, let's just say that I agree with the person (I think it may have been Ronald Reagan) who said that the country ought to have a tax system that looks like it was designed on purpose. And we ought to remember that that purpose is to provide the funds for the government to operate...not to pay for the needs and wants of special interests, however worthy they may or may not be.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Don't do anything too ... uh ... taxing.


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