I don’t think it’s civilized to be piling up trillions in debt for future generations, which won’t be able to tax themselves enough to cover that and ongoing, basic “civilization” spending. We are allowing much of our infrastructure to deteriorate as our politicians set the wrong priorities. We can’t tax ourselves enough right now, either, to cover billions in unexamined welfare spending, services for illegal immigrants and one war after another, without overburdening our economy. Our prisons are full, our ethics empty. I doubt that despite billions spent on education, our young people are learning to be more civilized than their grandparents. The true mark of a civilized society is personal responsibility: Where did it go?
I’ve done my taxes, am awaiting my refund, but many others this week are still completing the paperwork to comply with 7,000 pages of federal tax code, more than Justice Holmes could possibly have envisioned in 1913, when there were 400 pages. There is nothing civilized about the incomprehensible tangle of loopholes created by politicians working in concert with lobbyists.
We know that taxes are the price we pay for not going to jail for nonpayment of taxes. Let’s at least try to get through April 15 without some mindless tax-hiker lecturing us about the price of alleged civilization.
Barbara Anderson of Marblehead is a Salem News columnist.