It’s painful to most.
Ever since Benjamin Franklin tied it in with death as being inevitable.
And because we’re just in general more fond of getting than giving.
And because we have no choice in the matter.
When given a choice, lots of us are charitable and even more of us would be if we could be.
If every year someone came to us and said listen, we need to make sure the kids have the best trained teachers and books to read and that the road from here to town gets repaved because it’s cracking and we need to keep the air force base open just north of here because it brings in so many jobs and keep us secure, so would you be willing to contribute?
Of course you’d be willing to contribute.
This is America and we are a team.
Some of us contribute by teaching even though we could make more money elsewhere. Some of us contribute by building roads even though that job isn’t always available. Some of us contribute by flying jets even though it might mean we end up in Afghanistan.
Some of us run cities and some of us help homeless people and some of us coordinate water supplies and some of us keep parks open and some of us make sure food is safe and some of us serve food to public servants.
And some of us, yes, pay taxes to allow all that to happen.
The system is complicated and convoluted, and worse, it doesn’t cover all we are spending, but it’s one that’s been worked out with careful consideration combined with strong lobbying over years upon years and it’s what we’ve got.
And if you got some of the money you invested in America back as a refund, you’re getting a deal. And if you got all of it back, Franklin was wrong. And may in fact be wrong 47 percent of the time.
The rest, who may consider paying taxes less than rewarding, might just look at what they’re getting for their money. It could be keeping the water running in an embassy or helping the president get to an international summit or keeping commercial flights safe with the help of Homeland Security (oops, sore spot) or financing training for Navy SEALS (now you’re lovin’ it).
Writing that check can be a bit less painful if you don’t think of it as going to some indeterminate faceless government entity and becoming part of the ether.
Instead, consider that your taxes might be directed to health research or land management or equipping military personnel or job training or natural disaster relief or NASA or agriculture or whatever your personal passion is.
And if you don’t have a personal passion that falls under government financing, pretend you’re making it possible for someone to get in the Smithsonian free or for a trail through Bryce to stay cleared.
And if you don’t like the Smithsonian or Bryce Canyon then go ahead and complain about paying taxes.
I can’t help you.
Frankly, I never have had much success with this.