Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Just what is "fair"?

I remember getting my first paycheck at my first job. I don’t think there are words to describe that feeling of accomplishment. I remember just staring at it, not quite sure what I was going to do with it. It was over $100 and that amount of money is nearly incomprehensible to a 16-year-old.
I had promised myself that I would get a gameboy or some other video game system with it, once I had that much money. But I changed my mind, because if I spent it, then it would all be gone. So I decided to wait until I had $500 saved up, so I’d still have some left over. But then when I got $500, spending $100 still seemed like a big chunk. So I decided to save up to $1000. But the same thing happened. I didn’t want to touch my money. It seemed like the greatest thing, just to stare at my bank account balance. Not imagining what I was going to buy with it or anything like that, just to stare at it. I never did end up buying that game system.
Another curious realization occurred to me at this time. I would read over my pay stub each week, marveling at how much I earned. But then, I began to notice the other numbers – the money I also earned, but was taken away from me. I was horrified as I watched those numbers grow, week after week. It was then that I got my rude awakening about taxes and government.
As a 16-year-old, I could not understand why my hard-earned money was being taken from me, not to mention so much of it too! “For taxes? What is the government doing with these taxes?”, were among my questions concerning this travesty. Ok, so they were helping “unfortunate” people, going towards needed programs, building roads, going towards my social security. Okay, perhaps that is justified. I’m not happy about it, but at least it was going towards making a difference, right?
And another blow hit – completely changing my na├»ve little mind. One of my cousins, who is the same age as me, got a check from the government, in order to support herself and her newborn son. And she takes that $2,000 check and turns out, spending the WHOLE thing on a stereo system for her boyfriend.
It suddenly dawned on me where her “free” $2,000 governmental check came from – MY paycheck, and other taxpayers like me. So let me get this straight: she is irresponsible and gets pregnant at 15, the government labels her a “poor unwed mother” and gives her free handouts (which comes from taxpayers) & not to mention that she doesn’t have to work at all, later dropping out of school.
I go to school during the week, and work on the weekends. I did not get pregnant and did not drop out of school. But she gets rewarded for her behavior?!?! Not to mention, when I am at said job on the weekends, I get yelled at, thrown stuff at, called all sorts of names and have to deal with abusive, angry, dimwitted customers to only get part of my hard-earned money taken away and given to an irresponsible teenager, who is sitting on her ass on the couch, feeding potato chips and soda to her baby and giving expensive gifts to her boyfriend?!!? I don’t think so!
I can say with all certainty that this incident was the turning point of my political association. If it weren’t for my cousin, I could have ended up as a democrat.
So, all of this ranting has brought me to my actual point: the FairTax.
The FairTax would eliminate taxes being taken from our paychecks. We’d actual receive the full amount. Instead, we’d increase the sales tax. There’s already an embedded one (and no, it’s not the 5% or 6% you pay at the register). The tax would only be slightly higher than it is now, but we’d get our whole paycheck, so in effect, you still will have more money in your pocket than you do now.
I can’t figure for the life of me why anyone would oppose this. Anyone who has ever worked can’t tell me that they like almost a third of their paycheck never arriving in their hands. I have yet to meet one person that is excited about April 15 and the IRS. So why oppose this plan so vehemently?
Simple: they don’t pay taxes in the first place, so of course they will end up shelling out more.
And to the argument of how this will only help the “evil rich” and hurt the “misfortunate poor” – if you spend more, you will pay more. It’s that simple.
It’s not “out to get” students – it’s not “out to get” anyone. Spend more, you pay more.
“But the poor spend more because they have families to take care of, etc…blah blah blah”. Bullshit. If anything, the higher income earners spend more (in theory, anyway). If that isn’t the case, then maybe you should take another look at your budgets. Spend less on iPods, cell phones, expensive cars, and other unnecessaries and you just might have some money left over. HINT: The rich stay rich because they save their money. It has nothing to do with how much you earn. It’s more of a state of mind than a state of your finances, but that’s an argument for a different day.
If you spend more, you pay more. I love it! Perhaps having my whole paycheck in my hand will give me the same feeling that my first paycheck ever gave me, with hopefully less disenchantment about the system.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

NEWS FLASH

The secret to weight loss, good sleep, and happiness does not come in pill form.

And in the same fashion, the answer to good healthcare, wealth, and safety does not lie in the government.