Happy April 15th, or as most of us in the US know it, Tax Day.
As this is the day we tend to see a large number of complaints on social media thanks to the annual reminder of what we contribute to the government to live in this fair land, as an unmarried firmly middle class guy with no children or dependents, rather than complain about what my tax dollars are going to, here are five things I am happy my federal tax money goes toward, and would happily pay a higher tax rate to improve.
1. Defense, foreign aid, and diplomatic relations:
Yep, the big D is the first thing I mention, which for some may be a surprise. However, I mean Defense not in "the best defense is a good offense" kind of way, but in the "let's keep our people, land, allies, and interests in the general welfare safe" kind of way. To that end, I threw in diplomatic relations and foreign aid into the mix, because they are all intertwined. Sometimes throwing in a little aide money now prevents a war or terror attack in 20 years. The olive branch can be just as effective as the M-16.
2. Public schools, Vocational Training, Advanced Education:
What? I have no kids, why would I ever care about schools?
Bottom line, I care about your kids. I care about living in a world without being surrounded by dumbasses the rest of my life. I want all of your kids to have the best public school system possible to give them the best start in life, and hopefully figure out how to solve some of the major problems we're kicking down the road to them. I want every single child within these borders to have a great education available to them so they can grow to be smarter and better than the assholes siphoning money away from the public school system today. I want college students and research colleges to get the funding they need for new and exciting ideas that contribute to the public good. I want realistic trade skill training available for people that college isn't a good fit. Vouchers for private schools don't accomplish this for all, so if you want to send your kid to one, fine, but you pay for them to go and you keep contributing to the public system like everyone else, even those of us that don't have kids.
3. Helping the poor, sick, mentally ill, and homeless.
Much like I don't want to live in a world surrounded by dumbasses, I don't want to live in a world full of people desperate for basic human needs. Yes, there are people that game systems. If we cared as much about people that game the system in the upper tax brackets as we did the lowest, our prisons would be filled with bankers instead of the poor. There are people that if basic human needs are provided they would not lift a finger extra in life to accomplish anything else. At least for them if nothing else works, they aren't stealing for food, breaking in places for shelter, or occupying jail or prison space for some combination of either. I'm not saying it will be a perfect society for them, but I would pay more to know there are definite options for everyone in need.
4. Roads and Transportation:
Most people don't realize this, but early roads for vehicles were private, and many had tolls or fees just to get from town to town. Yes, we have toll roads still today, but think about that nice commute you may have, or that one place you need to get to by car instead of public transportation. Now think about all the little communities, towns, highways, or roads between you and that destination, and imagine paying a fee at every town limit, interchange, or property line. That's probably not going to happen, but it is very well the system we could have had if our local, state, and federal governments didn't step in to build and maintain the roadways and interstate infrastructure we enjoy today.
5. Public works:
National Parks, Wildlife conservation, public shared use lands, Energy Infrastructure, Food Supply Infrastructure, Public Health initiatives, NASA, private partnerships for public good, bridges connecting communities, and large ambitious public projects just to build great things are what I want to see. We have done great things, do some great things now, but can do even better things as a country in the future if we get back to investing in ourselves.
There are a number of things I am glad our federal government does that I haven't listed above, these are just the main five that matter to me. There are also a number of things I wish they didn't do, but in the interest of keeping things positive, I haven't added them here. Now that you've filed, paid, and settled up for another year, reflect on what your money is doing that makes a difference.