As though you needed reminding, it’s that  time again. So sometime between now and the middle of April you’ll have to do the deed, and it probably won’t help much to consider that the money — well, your money — will pay for armies, roads and doctors and  on and on. Nor does that smug little note from the boss of the IRS, actually thanking you for your contribution, ease the pain. And even if you think you’ll do well — or poorly — in your taxes this year, check out the windfall that General Electric got last year, and how well the company expects to do on its 2010 return. Then tell me again about fairness and some sense of the American way.

Howard Jarvis was certifiable and Prop 13 was a miserable means to achieve some kind of equity, but in the dark of night you can find yourself wondering about how they manage to blow all of that money. Until, I guess, you start thinking about what you decide you need, along with taking a generous approach to what other people need. Or more to the point, of what I want them to spend the money on versus what your preferences might be. I remember years ago having a not-so-friendly discussion with a co-worker who was yelling about the tax dollars that were going to “welfare queens,” while I had little problem with those allocations but was adamant in my opposition to even a dime going to support the war in Vietnam that was then raging (See how far back I go? My parents filled me in on WWII.). 

Stinkin’ taxes. You pay and parties unknown, or faintly known, make the choices on where the money ends up. We call those parties a government. As defined: an entity that oversees human behavior and controls public revenues.  Well, it do — make that they do. It’s a job and somebody does have to do it and they fight tooth and nail to be so enabled. Then they put their collective ears to the ground to discover the consensus for services and start writing checks, with small appetite for asking for more. Wow: There was woman from down here in Orange County who won a seat in the California legislature a few years ago, and early in her term she made the mistakes of voting for a small increase in taxes. She was recalled before she drove home that night.

Again, the assertion by the IRS that Americans voluntarily send in their dollars for the mutual support of the nation is a hoot, because you just know that if there truly was an option, annual revenues would scarcely fill a coffee can. And then what? Who would pay for anything? What if there were no taxes? Not a nickel.  I mean what if you were the leader of who knows what and you went to the most stringent conservative you knew and you said, “Okay, you’ve got it. We’re not just gonna lower taxes, we’re gonna eliminate them entirely. It’s over.”

Wouldn’t you purely love to be there for the response. You’d hear the long pause. And finally the “Well, we do need something to cover the expenses for…” To which you say, “For what?” And the escalation for “essentials” begins, eventually followed by fresh arguments over how much “something” would be needed to cover those essentials and who gets it.

Which is why a guy many years ago started hitting things and coined the expression “the only things that are inevitable are death and taxes.”