catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 8, Num 17 :: 2009.09.04 — 2009.09.17


Ten reasons I love to pay my taxes

(And you should, too)

  1. It is a community-building activity.  When I pay local, state, and national taxes, I am giving my share to one of the largest communities I am a part of. 
  2. Just yesterday, when I went for a bike ride on the path that goes through the forest preserve, I discovered that the workers had repaved that one nasty, bumpy stretch.  I am glad to pay my share of that (and could never pay for the whole thing on my own).
  3. Because I am part of a democracy, some of the taxes get used for things I do not support, and occasionally for things I really despise, like war.  But this actually is cause for both frustration and rejoicing.  The only way I could be sure that all of my taxes were used to pay for things I agree with is if I lived in a despotic tyrannical government and I was the tyrant.  The fact that my money gets used for things I don’t agree with reassures me that I live in a democracy.
  4. When my friends were both in grad school, they needed to go on welfare to take care of their small child.  When they graduated from grad school, they both got well-paying jobs.  Now they contribute way more to the system than they took out of it.
  5. My money gets used to pay the salary of the mayor of my town, my state representative, my national senators and congress people — even the President of the United States.  They all work for me.  That is an amazing thing.  And if I don’t like what they are doing, I can fire them (sometimes).
  6. Every week my garbage gets picked up and clean water comes out of my tap.  I love that.
  7. Some of my money probably gets wasted.  That also may not be such a bad thing.  Educating and caring for people is not always efficient.  Government is not a business.  For example, sometimes in order to make sure that small children are cared for, that the food we eat is safe, that corporations are held responsible for what they put into the air and water, there may be some waste.  In order to raise my family I sometimes have to spend money in a way that might not make sense to someone else (like when I buy my daughter a cotton candy at the Michiana Mennonite Relief Sale — not a sound financial decision, but one that makes sense from an emotional perspective).
  8. Parks (local, state and national).
  9. We have a justice system in this country that works far better than most.  I get to pay for both prosecutors and public defenders, for judges and police officers, for clerks and bailiffs.  It is a great thing to be part of such a system — even though it is far from perfect.
  10. Jesus told us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.  I have always believed that his point was that, after all, it is only money.  The money that I make in a job I love is a gift from God.  It comes to me more through grace than through any deserving.   The least I can do if I love God is to remember that He is more important than money and that, frankly, paying taxes isn’t really that big of a deal. 

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