Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Tax Man Cometh

Remember Sue-Anne Niven, The Happy Homemaker on the Mary Tyler Moore show? If I remember correctly, Betty White played the character who despite her pasted on smile and shallow homemaking tips, was the biggest shark on the show; cynical, world wise, and ready to kill if that is what it took to stay ahead of everyone else.

My favorite part of her character was when Mary would say something naive, Sue-Anne always had a similar reaction. "Poor Mary. Poor nice, shallow silly silly Mary" she would say, finding a way to express insincere pity while simultaneously insulting the show's heroine.

I had a Sue-Anne moment just the other day. On my way to the train, I stopped in Starbuck's to grab a cup of joe for the ride home. On the side of my cup was a little saying that I suppose is there to entertain me and make me a bit wiser for having purchased my coffee. Most of these sayings I've noticed are by celebrities, and generally tend towards the typical banal bromides that one finds in the Chicken Soup For the Soul series.

Friday, the saying was from an average Joe...or in this case the average Bart. Bart Jarman to be exact. His words of wisdom went as follows:

" What if, in addition to filing a tax return every year, we had the chance to decide where our tax dollars would be used? Programs and government departments that no one likes would simply go away."

Poor Bart. Poor nice, simple naive Bart.

I'm sure our pal Bart is a nice man, but he couldn't have it more wrong. Bart, like so many citizens seems to think that our government spends money on things that nobody wants, and all our waste is the government's fault. This simply isn't the case. Our government spends money on things that everybody wants, or if not everybody then at least a good number of folks. For what it's worth, I'd be willing to bit that if we adopted Bart's proposal, we'd end up funding more programs, not less and the problem would be even worse.

All of us, Bart included need to look in the mirror. The voters demand more and more programs, and return those congressmen that come through with "pork" back to office year after year. The problem is us, and until we develop some discipline we will never be able to enforce any on our government.

Happy tax day.

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