Pay your taxes, loser

I’m sick and tired of hearing conservatives bitch and moan about having to pay taxes. It boils down to this: conservatives take all the credit for the success they have. To a conservative, if you’re poor, you’re a loser and you’ve gotten what you deserve. Likewise, if you’re rich, then you worked your way up, without any help from anyone, and you deserve to keep every dime you make.

This is, quite simply, bullshit. And the reason I know it’s bullshit is because of my own life.

I’ve done well for myself. I’ve exceeded expectations. I’ve worked hard, and I have a rewarding and interesting career. But I’d be the biggest most arrogant type of narcissistic asshole to claim that I’ve done it all on my own and that I deserve to keep every dime that I make.

Why? Because I got my education with tax-payer money. I got to school on roads that taxpayers built. I was healthy and disease free because of regulations that taxpayers put on a vast array of industries from agriculture to waste management.

When I was in the 8th grade, a federal program gave money to my school to buy eight Commodore PETs — one of the first personal computers to be widely available. I jumped at the chance to take classes in that lab, and I’ll never forget it because I had a epiphany when I figured out what that little computer could do. I knew that I wanted to do for a living. That experience, and so many good ones that followed, were made possible with tax payer money.

In college I qualified for a number of programs that were designed to expose students from poor areas to technology. I got to spend time at Los Alamos National Labs and work on the most powerful supercomputers in the world. I got to spend a summer at Cal-tech (if there was not MIT, Cal-tech would be a household word.)

These experiences broadened my horizons by exposing me to new technologies and new people. And I didn’t look for these programs. My teachers and professors told me about the options I had and encouraged me to take advantage. This was all paid for by tax payers.

Since college I’ve worked in the private sector. I’ve written books, I’ve worked as a game programmer, I’ve worked at Microsoft, and I’ve worked as a consultant. And all this has been possible because of taxpayer money.

My income, therefore, is not entirely my own. I owe a portion of my income to the taxpayers of yesteryear that made my career possible. I need to help pay for kids out there now for whom success is unlikely without government programs like the ones that helped me. I need to help pay the salaries of their teachers. I need to help maintain the roads that these kids use to get to school. I need to help pay for government agencies to protect the air, water, and food that these kids consume.

I have no problem with this. I’m glad to do it. And I feel that way despite the fact that I live in Denmark and pay much higher taxes than I would in the US. I’m proud to be a contributing member of society. I’m proud of the fact that I know enough about how I got here to be grateful. I’m proud that I don’t arrogantly and ignorantly claim that I’m being treated unfairly because my income is taxed.

I’m proud to be a taxpayer. I’m proud to be progressive. And I have no sympathy for American conservatives on the issue of taxes.

One Thought on “Pay your taxes, loser

  1. I’d gladly pay income tax if I had an income.

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