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U.S. 4th Lowest Taxed Country In The World

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm struck by how much the Internet and Sunday talk shows tell me how much conservatives and tea baggers hate our ruinous taxes and all that government intrusion. This is, of course, always followed by a hyper profession of love of country. Then my "progressives" and "liberals" twitter feeds seem to always be filled with constant messages about how "liberalism" is a psychological disorder and a philosophy for the insane followed by a requisite inference about their "hatred" of America. With all this in mind its really no surprise this is the usual menu items of emotional wringing one can pick up on randomly selected Beck, Limbaugh, or Savage program offerings available for public consumption for validation of these feelings.

What really strikes me though is the incongruity of it all when you take their thinking process to their logical conclusions. The emotional and often tearful declarations of love of America is usually a preamble followed by a list of "Americans" they can't stand with "liberals" always taking the first available slot. This is usually followed by certain "politicians" making the list with yet more "Americans" being singled out for disdain and venomous rejoinders. Then there are others who are told their lives are "lifestyle choices" and not really who they are and therefore will not be invited into the tent where "liberty and the pursuit of happiness" takes place. Then there are those who are professed non believers in spiritual matters who are always looked down upon as folks not worthy enough to receive votes for elected office. Again more "Americans" the conservatives and tea baggers can't stand. The list seems to go on and on...lawyers, certain judges, Hollywood in general, "immigrants" who need proof of citizenship while of course your average looking "wasp" does not and e.t.c.

Then when one finds out we are the 4th lowest taxed country in the world (only above Japan, Korea, and Mexico) this stuff really starts to materialize into head scratches. As it turns out the three top taxed countries in the world are also perennial finishers in the top five for standards of living. Go figure.

I find it strange that as an eighth grader I had to memorize Lincoln's Gettysburg Address for a lesson. At the time it just seemed like a frivolous waste of time reciting something that made no sense to me. Of course by the time of my college years I knew exactly what it meant: "a government of the people, by the people, and for the people." This tall lanky fellow who was a Republican was telling me in no uncertain words that Americans and their government were one and the same.

I'm like most Americans who occasionally grumble about paying taxes. But most of the time one of the most patriotic feelings I get during the year is tax time in April. I'm actually committing the act of contributing to the good and welfare of my country. Anyone can stand around a grill with hot dogs and fireworks going off in the back ground yelling USA! USA!. But tax time is an actual act without the hype and circumstance. Its stands as a reminder that not only is freedom not cheap, it requires civic responsibility to contribute to the public good and welfare to the national community at large. Its funny how libertarians and rock ribbed Republicans always want that community opt out clause in their ideology and usually from behind some gated community with a guard shack and rules about how your homes should not only look but reflect a certain standard of decorum that isn't desirable from some "Americans" they can't stand.

There is a favorite comic strip from not long ago about a little boy and his stuffed tiger named "Calvin & Hobbs." One day while building a tree house and staking a claim to being a "girl hating" club excluding them from membership, Hobbs the stuffed tiger, poses a question of introspection, "Why do we want to keep certain people out of our club?" Calvin answers back with a smugness and certainty that can only come from six year old boys, "Because, its not a real club if you can't keep someone out."

Whenever I hear Republicans tell me they hate or can't trust the government but they trust the American people I always think of that Calvin & Hobbs cartoon. Since its not a "real club if you can't keep someone out" I understand what they mean now. The people they are professing to trust are people in the "club" and not those Americans on that list of who they can't stand.

How about that. Out of the mouths of babes.