Someone Else’s Money aka Taxes

School Bus

Not my high school…

Back in high school, my parents would give me a little bit of money on Saturdays so I could go out with friends after church (we had Saturday night services). Depending on the week, it was usually between 10 and 20 bucks.

The nerd that I am, I always squeezed every penny of that money so it would last the entire week. My friend Mike would drive (the only one of us with a car) and I would pay for snacks.

It was a good system.

As I think back on those days one thing I remember is how broke I was every Saturday. By the time Saturday rolled around, the money from last week was always gone. I tried to save some of the money a few times, but it never grew to more than a few dollars before I spent it.

My problem wasn’t my ability to save. At the same time I was spending this allowance, I was also holding onto birthday and Christmas money for months at a time. I’d get 50 or 100 dollars on these holidays (thanks to my big family) and hold onto it until I found exactly what I wanted: a special movie, a video game, the next Animorphs book. Something that would cost more than what my parents gave me.

And while saving my money was easy, the weekly allowances always disap­peared quickly.

An Obvious Truth

The differ­ence is obvious, isn’t it? It’s easier to spend someone else’s money. When my money was at stake, I was careful how I spent it. But my parent’s money? That I could spend without a second thought.

This, my friends, is the problem with taxes.

When govern­ments tax us, they’re taking our money to spend it how they see fit. I’m not anti-tax or anything. Taxes give us roads, a strong military, and other nice things. Unfor­tu­nately, the system also lends itself to overspending.

Both the Obama and Bush admin­is­tra­tions proved this with their bailouts. In a time when govern­ment spending was already at an all time high and the economy was at its lowest in decades, these admin­is­tra­tions spent close to two trillion dollars to postpone the inevitable recession. (Which they both failed to do).

What’s worse, after Bush’s failed attempt Obama did it again! Why would he take such a risk on the American economy? Because it wasn’t his money. To govern­ments, trillion is just a number. They don’t have to worry about things like budgets, savings, or the future because they think there will always be more.

Like me in high school, govern­ments assume they will always be able to get more money from their people. And if they mis-spend that money, it doesn’t hurt them because it wasn’t their money.

It’s A Problem

Over time, the tax mindset has really hurt the American people. Our govern­ment is horribly in debt; over­spending has become a detri­mental problem to the inter­na­tional economy; and the people who keep footing the bill are starting to get upset.

Upset like my parents got when I was angry after they wouldn’t buy me something. They knew I could work and save up for it so they told me to. I got angry and they asked why I was so willing to spend their money but not my own.

I didn’t have a good answer. And I don’t have one to the tax problem either.

Keep voting, I guess. Push for term limits when it comes up. Consider learning about the Fair Tax.

This post isn’t really about an answer, just a problem I’ve noticed for awhile that I thought you should be aware of.

What do you think we should do about the “someone else’s money” tax problem?

[Image by Kevin Dooley under Creative Commons license]

6 Responses to “Someone Else’s Money aka Taxes”

  1. Mike Luna February 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM #

    At least we’re not the only country that sucks with our money (see: European debt crisis).

    Let me also say that, after reading your stuff for over a year now, I think you’ve become a much better writer than you were when you started. Not that you were terrible before, but you’re better now.

    Just something I thought of while reading this.

    • Alex February 23, 2012 at 1:36 PM #

      Thanks Mike, I appre­ciate it!

  2. Jon White February 23, 2012 at 12:52 PM #

    There is no easy solution to your question Alex. The only answer to me is to start saying “No.” Unfor­tu­nately that probably will not happen anytime soon because politi­cians like to get re-elected and by telling people “No, we don’t have any money,” that means people will get mad and vote someone in who will tell them “Yes”
    But I think you really nailed it when you said that it is easier to spend other people’s money. I know that is true for myself when I was younger and still is probably true today.

    • Alex February 23, 2012 at 1:40 PM #

      Yeah, that’s an unfor­tu­nate problem with the system.

  3. ixnayonthetimmay February 24, 2012 at 3:47 AM #

    I know that school district. It’s near where I live! (As a slight aside, it’s an elemen­tary and middle-school district, but that’s not really relevant. I am just glad for an unin­tended geograph­ical shout-out.)

    When it comes to the idea of managing someone else’s money respon­sibly (also known as fiduciary respon­si­bility), it can be tricky. It’s not just a problem of govern­ment (We can ask Bernard Madoff about that one) but govern­ment seems to be the biggest culprit. As has been stated, there is no easy answer, but the best we can do as indi­vid­uals is to educate ourselves and others on freedom and the role of govern­ment in our lives. We must all remember that the govern­ment can never provide something for nothing.

    The Fair Tax is a good start, and there are other good ideas like a balanced-budget amendment to the Consti­tu­tion, but it’s an issue that can’t be fixed with one simple change. What other ideas do you have that could work, Mr. Alex?

    • Alex February 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM #

      Haha, that’s crazy! I didn’t think Kyrene would be in Arizona…

      What are some of my ideas? You’ll have to wait until another day to learn those.

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