No. 267


When it comes to the subject of taxes, the French statesman Jean Colbert had it right. He said, “taxes consists of so plucking the goose as to get the most feathers with the least hissing.” I also like former President Ronald Reagan’s definition of a taxpayer: “Someone who works for the federal government but who doesn’t have to take a civil service examination.” Taxes have a great impact on our lives and during our visit today I would like to share some thoughts that I am calling the “tax & spend” mentality. While we all pay taxes in one form or another, to a large degree our attitude toward taxes will be determined by whether or not we are paying taxes or spending them.
When it comes to my own philosophy, I shall never forget what a very fine reporter for a Midwestern newspaper wrote about me and this column when it began to run in her paper. She said, “Mr. Davidson is not a preacher and he has no political axes to grind.” That was several years ago and I have done my best to keep it that way. I can honestly say that I do not mind paying legitimate taxes for the benefits and services I receive like good roads, schools, police and fire protection, sanitation services, parks and many others.
Like you I do resent the massive tax burden, especially at the federal level, and the graft and corruption and the pork barrel projects that politicians have used as a tool to stay in office. This has led to what I call the ‘tax & spend’ mentality. This is when politicians tax us, they spend it, and then some, and then tax us some more. The buildings they build and the programs they create have to be staffed and maintained and they have to be funded year after year. This is why they can cry, “We need a tax increase”, when in reality they did not spend revenue from the previous increase wisely.
The really sad thing about what the federal government, and state governments to a lesser degree, have done to taxpayers is they have left little potential revenue for local governments to provide necessary and legitimate services in the local community. When it comes to passing local tax issues, it has almost come down to class warfare. For the people who earn large incomes and have considerable resources, an extra penny sales tax or 5 mills for the schools is no big deal. It is a very big deal however, for those people who are on ‘fixed’ incomes and it takes about all they have each month to pay a house payment or rent, utilities, transportation, groceries and unreimbursed prescription drugs. These people view another proposal to raise taxes not only as the “straw that broke the camel’s back” but as their very survival.
You may say, what’s the answer? While it’s very complex, vote for congressional candidates who will be continue to hold down spending and pay off the national debt and reduce federal tax rates. At the local level, put all the cards on top of the table and bring those people in the ‘fixed’ income group into the process and consider their needs as well. We need to remember that these people are not dumb and when they don’t vote for a tax increase they are not uncaring or unprogressive. Rather, we should see it for what it really is: threatening their very survival.
You may or may not have agreed with what I have said because we do tend to view things from our own perspective. It is my heart’s desire to ‘unite’ all of our people and never to divide us. There are more than enough resources in this country for all of us, but it’s vital that we involve everyone in the process. These people with low or fixed incomes are important and in most communities you can’t pass a local tax issue without them. (Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72032.)

ople actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs. Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chan .