By Amanda Ponzar
When the government almost shut down recently due to squabbles over funding, it was personal. Living in the Washington, DC metro area meant people I know well were about to go on furlough. No more paycheck.
It got me thinking. I pay a lot in taxes, Taxes, TAXES!! (federal, state, local, property, school, you name it), so where is all that money going? And what SHOULD taxes be used for? Or not used for?
So, I took a look at the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights -- yes, ahem, it had been a while since I read those –- but didn’t find any divine guidance. All I found was “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes” (Amendment XVI). They’ve figured that part out, haven't they?
I did find a Yahoo News article on “How your Tax Dollars Are Spent” and a NY Times article "Where your tax $$ go" but again, everything is so high-level, it’s impossible to see any $35k toilets, boondoggle bridges or pork projects. (Interested in seeing those? Check out Citizens Against Government Waste.)
- Government agencies
- Social security
- Mail delivery/postal service
- Interest on the national debt
- Law enforcement
- Planned Parenthood, NPR, etc. (recent news stories focused on funding these orgs received)
- etc., etc.
Sometimes I wonder if we’ve lost sight of what government should fund versus individuals, nonprofits, religious organizations and companies. When we’re facing mounting deficits, why is it so hard to find something to cut? I guess because no one wants their pet project panned or their funding stream halted, and we’ve got a lot of lobbyists and special interests out there fighting for their piece of the pie.
I hope we balance the budget. I hope we pay down the national debt. I hope the people we elect figure out how to make things right. In the meantime, I’ll just keep paying taxes because "Every town, Has its taxes too, And the taxes is due, Do do-do do do" (sung by the Honorable Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood).
(Photos: Disney's Robin Hood -- Robin Hood took the tax money from Prince John; US Constitution; How Tax Dollars are spent graphic)