A Patriotic Day

Bill Scher

Today is Tax Day, the deadline for filing our tax returns. It is fundamentally a patriotic day, the day where we citizens fund our own government. We are no longer ruled by monarchs who govern by the power of their own wealth. With taxation, we have representation. We fought a revolution about that.

It is our money, and it is our government. Part of our patriotic duty is to demand that our tax dollars are invested wisely by our government. How’s that been going?

In short, terribly. Conservatives rammed through reckless tax cuts primarily to those earning more than $200,000 a year. More than $500 billion has been wasted on the occupation of Iraq, with the eventual bill expected to hit $3 trillion. Meanwhile public investment in our nation’s health, energy, education and infrastructure has been starved.

It’s time to restore tax fairness and responsibility. As we slog through a recession and rising costs, some temporary reduction in taxes for middle-class families is in order. But that won’t get medical, energy and education costs down for good.

To truly tackle the rising costs eating away at the middle-class, we need to pool our resources, make the up-front investments that pay off in the long-run, and quit blowing money on proven failures.

We need to invest in health care for all, clean domestic energy and energy-efficiency, and accessible education. We need to end the foreign policy quagmires jacking up energy prices, scrap a health care system designed for drug and insurance company CEOs, and stop saddling our kids with massive debt to the student loan companies.

Since it is Tax Day, you can expect another round of tax demagoguery from conservatives — as if the mere existence of taxes is the cause of the recession, and conservatives never got their way for the past seven years.

For example, Sen. John McCain’s latest attempt to address the economy fully embraces the Bush tax cuts he originally scorned, offers a fat tax cut for business owners, while throwing in a few extra scraps for the masses — like a summer-long repeal of the 18-cent gas tax, which amounts to a sliver of the $2.00 a gallon gas rise in the Bush Era. But no proposals to invest in our weakening foundation, so all Americans can flourish in the global economy.

Washington conservatives push tax cuts regardless of the economic climate, because they are not interested in having an economy that works for all. They are interested in a shrunken government that works for the elite few.

The progressive vision is for a public tax system combined with public investment strategy that raises revenue fairly and invests our resources wisely.

It’s our money. We decide what to do with it. If we didn’t like how conservatives squandered our resources over the last seven years, we can make a change.

And we can thank taxation with representation for that.

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