We Don't Need Them -- They Need Us
When one thinks about the benefits provided by our local, state, and federal government our daily lives, what comes to mind? What do we get as taxpaying U.S. citizens? Many do not think of taxes in terms of the return on our investment as Americans. When taxes are thought of in those terms, it seems like a very bad deal. It appears that taxes, fees, and fines are never reduced, but the quality of the service is. Why do we accept that?
Our constitutional republic was created by those who had lived under monarchy. They knew what we do not, and they experienced what we have not -- until now. The Founders created a framework that would enable a system of limited government that secured our liberty for as long as we could keep it. “If we can keep it” is the key phrase. Over the last couple of generations, We, the People have relinquished our freedoms and have given them to our elected and non-elected leaders and to the governmental process in which we have misplaced our trust and faith. They have been careless, reckless, and irresponsible with our money.
We do not need them. They need us.
They need our compliance and, more importantly, they need our money in the form of taxes, fees, and fines. The annual tax received from U.S. citizens for the year 2018 was $1.5 trillion. Where was this money spent? What did we receive for our payments? Very little.
We live our lives. We go to work, raise families, contribute to our communities and, for the most part, live our lives in independence. Unless retired or on government assistance, we don’t receive monthly payments from the government. It is difficult for the average and responsible citizen to monitor this spending or the recipients of the money, especially since most of these programs are portrayed as positive and necessary. It is difficult and time-consuming. The system has incrementally been changed to reduce accountability. The money we pay has been reduced to a number on a pay stub or the bottom line on a tax return. If you are an owner of a small business, it is much worse. Let’s consider a few items for which all of us pay in our local communities. Do our towns and cities have continuous potholes in your streets and constant construction with ten highway workers holding up shovels? Probably yes. Do you continuously call 911 in need of fire or law enforcement assistance while new police and fire departments build new buildings? Probably not. Did you vote for a new bicycle path or “green space”? Probably not. Are you familiar with your town’s budget spending? Definitely not. Our local, state, and federal governments are taxing and spending money without our input or approval with impunity. We are not getting the value for the taxes we pay when compared to what we would expect on the purchase of another good or service. Taxes, which are the investment in our country, are one of the areas where we receive little to no return on our investment. It is equivalent of ordering a pizza that never gets delivered and we then cannot determine what happened or who is responsible. Your only choice is to order another pizza and hope for the best. We can’t blame our local, state, and federal officials. We have let them run amok without supervision, and they are weak. It is easy to be reckless when one’s own money is not being spent. It is our job as American citizens to pay attention and hold them to account.
Did we vote for massive aid to Ukraine? If we are expected to support our local levy, shouldn’t we have a say in a $40B+ payout to a foreign country? The border is wide open. Did we participate in that decision? No. Both examples have or will impact us directly, and we have had no input. These are a few examples where the case was made by the government to the people that if we do not agree with these endeavors, we are bad people or unpatriotic. It is frustrating to watch our Republican leadership hold hearings and conduct investigations resulting in little accomplished. These motions are our elect officials are beginning to resemble theater.
This disconnect between the citizens and our government is not new, but has been increasing over the last 20 years. The COVID lockdown proved it. The government did whatever it wanted, and American citizens complied. The success of this compliance has spoken volumes to those in power. What lesson did they learn? They learned that they could do anything they want if they have the media to back their decisions and “bang the drum.” They imposed mandates on private businesses and churches while not enforcing these mandates on fast-food restaurants and big box stores. The government, on all levels, picked favorites. Why and how did this happen? Are the majority of Americans so browbeaten into not offending anyone or anything as to give our government and its experts the power and credibility they do not deserve? Have Americans become so afraid of the “almighty power” of the government that asking questions or resisting is unthinkable?
There is a single question many people ask: What can be done?
Image: Public Domain