I wrote this column in August, with the intention of submitting it as freelance to our local newspaper “InsideNoVA.com.” I never submitted it, as a result of my previous submission on the immigration resolution not being published. Perhaps I should have anyway, but I can also use the excuse that Winnie and I were just too busy in the final throes of rebuilding our second property.
So, for your reading pleasure, the first time in publication ever, you can read my thoughts on taxes.
It has seemingly become a religion with Republicans that taxes are bad. I’ve seen, read, and heard many Republicans wax hysterical over the thought that somewhere in America an undeserving person is reaping the benefits of their hard earned money paid out in taxes through an inept government.
The Republican mantra sounds like: the trickle-down effect of no taxes will unleash the invisible hand of free markets that create a rising tide of prosperity that lifts all boats. Or something.
Full disclosure: As a Liberal, I don’t like paying taxes. I also don’t like undeserving people reaping the benefits of my hard-earned money. However, as much as I don’t like paying taxes, I also happen to believe that taxes should legitimately be the means by which a civilized nation finances construction of infrastructure and provide basic social services for the collective well-being of all citizens.
We have two local, high profile recent examples of the real-world impact of Republican’s knee-jerk opposition to paying taxes. The first is the recent announcement that Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will be closing nineteen of the state’s highway rest stops as a cost cutting measure. As a direct result of years of the Republicans in our state government under funding VDOT, we are now in a position where VDOT is essentially out of money.
VDOT estimates that closing these rest stops will save the state about $12 Million per year. Using U.S. Census data for 2008 we can assume 4,055,464 taxpaying families in Virginia. So $12 Million represents $2.95 per family per year to provide those highway rest stops.
The second cut in local services is the Prince William County Senior Citizens Shuttle Bus Service. Our Republican dominated Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) decided that cutting the transportation our senior citizens use between their residences and Senior Citizens Centers was a proper way to reduce county expenses. I cannot find the exact amount that the program was costing us, but a June 25 letter in “The Potomac News” from BOCS member Mr. Frank J. Principi indicated that a $200,00 grant from the state, combined with charity services from local churches and PRTC OmniLink daily bus passes, could fund this program for an unspecified period of time.
Using US Census data for 2008, we can assume 166,318 taxpaying families in Prince William County. So $200,00 represents $1.20 per family per year needed to provide decent transportation for our senior citizens, which helps to make their golden years just a little bit more comfortable.
The loss of both of these programs, and many other public services over the past few years, are a direct result of Republican’s collective refusal to pay taxes.
For want of $2.95 from each family in Virginia, we lost half of our state’s publicly-funded highway rest stops. For want of $1.20 per year from each family in Prince William County, our senior citizens have to depend on grants and charity services for their daily transportation.
Yet, meanwhile: Mr. Stephen Slivinski of the Cato Institute has reported that corporate welfare – direct and indirect government subsidies to American Corporations – cost American taxpayers $92 billion during 2006, the last year Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, up from $87 billion in 2001.
Meaning that each family in America is paying $559.28 in taxes per year for corporate welfare. Many of the companies getting our tax dollars are the same companies closing down American factories and shipping our well-paying manufacturing jobs to countries such as Mexico and China, which permit those companies to reap higher profits and pay larger executive bonuses.
I consider corporate welfare offensive to the point of obscene. But from “Taxes are bad” Republicans, we hear nary a peep of protest. I have to wonder why.
As special bonus for our many readers, here is my list of references used to write this column:
The Corporate Welfare Budget: Bigger Than Ever
by Stephen Slivinski
October 10, 2001
Demographics: US Census Bureau 2008:
Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct 5 yrs old & over: 54.1%
Therefore Number of Families: 164,496,310.684
Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct 5 yrs old & over: : 52.2
Therefore Number of families: 4,055,464.458
Living in same house in 1995 and 2000, pct 5 yrs old & over: 45.6%
Therefore Number of Families: 166,318.704
Rest Room Closures
Page 11 – FY 2010 Proposed Service Reductions as of March 2009
Frank J. Principi
June 25, 2009
My LTE Wherein I Crunch the Numbers : My letter to the editor of our local newspaper analyzing how little money per family public social services cost.
Charest Answers James Simpson : My letter to the editor responding to a demand by one of our right-wing newspaper columnists asking how much taxpayer money should be spent on public schools.
Katrina’s Financial Impact : An analysis of the financial impact of destruction from hurricane Katrina.