This I Believe

Emily - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on March 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in Taxes. I’m not immune to the shock the occurs when you open the envelope and see your pay stub and think, man, I wish that was more. But I believe in taxes because taxes are a real manifestation of our priorities as a nation and a community.

I believe in taxes because we have an obligation to those around us to work towards a world where no one goes hungry; to make sure that we have good schools and health care and roads to drive on; that we’re protected-from terrorists and burglars and e-coli-all the things that our city, state and national government can do because we, the citizenry, trust them enough to give them this money.

I believe taxes, and by extension budgets, make our priorities clear, right there in black and white. Instead of extending further tax credits to those of us who work but are still just scraping by, we reward the wealthy by further cutting their taxes. Our budget is more and more full of pet projects and no bid contracts for Iraq, but we’re cutting funds for youth programs and college loans. And I’m troubled by this, but because I’m a person who wants to see numbers, I can look at the tax code and the budget and realize that it’s not all right.

I believe in taxes because it gives me leverage. It’s my money, and I want the government to spend it in a way I see fit. So I vote for the person who would spend the money like I would. I work with people in my city and with groups around the country to make our priorities known. I want my hard earned money, along with everyone elses, to come together to lift up those who need it and to make our country stronger. There’s no way we can do it alone. It gives me hope, my taxes, that if someday I need help, it’ll be there.

The thing is, I’m willing to give more. I don’t have a lot, but I’m willing to give up a few beers a month, so long as everyone gives their share. And that’s why I believe in taxes. It’s an obligation to a greater good, and I feel more connected to my government and the people around me. So on pay day and on April 15, I’ll think about my taxes as my civic duty, and hope it gets to someone who needs it more than me.