I Hate Taxes

As the political circus continues, I am reminded of one of the assigned management readings back in college.  The premise was that we’re sometimes more successful when we say something different than what we mean.  Oddly most of the examples involved politicians.

A politician who announces that he or she is in favor of better education is going to receive positive marks from many voters.  On the other hand, a politician who honestly states that he or she is in favor of raising taxes to support better education is not going to be perceived as well.  Go figure. One of the examples the cited was when Richard Nixon stated that he has a “secret” plan for getting America out of Vietnam. Like making sausage, people want the end result without having to watch the process.

The big political brouhaha today is, of course, taxes. Now don’t get me wrong.  I dislike taxes as much as the next guy.  I know I dislike them more than people who pay less than I do. I don’t want to pay one more cent of taxes per gallon of gas! Unfortunately, I do want to have roads that are free of potholes and able to handle rush hour traffic.

Around here they’ve avoided raising the tax on gasoline for quite some time and the road system isn’t up to snuff.  Every election, some clown’s ads bemoan how the opponent was in favor of increasing a tax to pay for roads (or even worse – wait for it – schools!)

In these parts the biggest highway issues involve bridges over and tunnels under the various waterways. Roads are expensive, but bridges and tunnels far more so. Apparently we all like living by the water but we don’t like paying for bridges and tunnels.  Since the politicians cannot or will not raise the money to support the bridges and tunnels that are needed, there are two alternatives. 1) Do without or 2) To partner with private corporations who will build bridges and tunnels and charge a toll to recoup their investment.

You can imagine the hue and cry over imposing tolls; especially since the only logical way to pay for an additional tunnel from point “A” to point “B” is to charge tolls on the existing tunnel as well as the new one. People around here are very crafty when it comes to alternate routes without tolls.

Again, I dislike taxes.  However, it is the usual and customary requirement that if I want something, I have to pay for it.  I want a nice meal I have to pay for it whether I eat out or at home.  However, when it comes to roads, schools or whatever, people perceive it as something different.

It seems that culturally we now believe that if it is something for ME I’m willing to pay for it.  On the other hand, if it’s something we’re going to share, then I think someone else should provide it.

“It’s mine and you can’t have it!”

Sounds like the typical reaction of a two or three year old.

Some people have developed advanced weasel skill and try to figure out how to get what they want and stick someone else with the tab.  A great example is the various taxes that get tacked onto hotel bills.  Let those out-of-towners pay for my stuff.  Since the taxes are added on after the fact, we can still quote the room rate at the pre-tax level.  It must be okay, since everybody does it – hotels, airlines, cell phone companies…  No one says, “And if these big companies jumped off the Empire State Building, would you jump too?”

Of course these are the same people who gripe about the greedy S.O.B.s who put all those taxes on the hotel bill when they spend time out of town.

But back to roads.

My commute includes about 15 minutes in which I’m stuck in stop-and-go traffic.  I have to wonder if the amount of gas all of us in that traffic jam burn up while just sitting doesn’t cost a lot more than the amount of tax that would be needed to keep the transportation system working properly.  It costs me about $34 to fill my tank once a week. I probably waste a gallon of gas stuck in traffic each week. That’s the same as an additional 33 cents per gallon of gas. If I were paying 10 cents a gallon in additional tax to pay for roads, I’d save almost $20 per year, not to mention the fact that I would get home 15 minutes sooner every day.

I still hate taxes, but I understand that we makes our choices and we pays our fees.

Of course I’d still grumble about taxes even if I was driving home at the speed limit, over a new bridge, without tolls – but my heart wouldn’t be in it.

3 responses to “I Hate Taxes

  1. I agree with you, Steve: I hate taxes too! Yet, I’d like all your reader/ thinkers to really know who they are reading. Will the real Steve Nowak please stand up?

    Steve, you are perhaps one of the most brilliant leaders, managers and thinkers I’ve ever known–one who abhors waste on the one hand, and knows how to generate revenue on the other. Moreover, you have never been of the kind to “throw money at any problem,” let alone “more” money.
    In fact, I think it was YOU, Steve, who first described man’s disaster syndrome: “Internal and external disaster almost always begins with a person’s philosophy of doing less…and wanting more.”

    No, Steve, with all due respect, paying more money in the form of taxes is never the answer. Our local, state and federal government officials must stop being politicians, and start being statesman, real leaders. Instead of raising taxes. they must get rid of the great waste and inefficiency–which
    can and will release millions perhaps billions of dollars. Just look around
    at our DMV offices and operations if you want to see waste and inefficiency. Look around and you’ll see government buildings and property empty.
    When we get rid of waste and inefficiency, we generate BIG revenue.

    Nothing is politically right…which is morally wrong. Here in Los Angeles,
    California, the sales tax is 8.5% and our Governor wants to raise to 9%. He wants to cut back on school funding. He wants to raise our gas tax another 3 cents. He’s already cut out Senior Citizen funding, dental care for indigent children of below poverty level income, and Food-funding for needy families of 3 or more, etc. Yes, our taxes were paying for these services.
    Perhaps now our taxes will go to pay for our State politicians to meet in
    Las Vegas!

    No, Steve. Use your “traffic jam wait time” to enjoy some peace with yourself or some good music, or contemplate hugging your kids. But, remember, America was born to free people from taxation. It’s not only our responsibility but our “obligation” to pay as little tax as possible, lest
    we continued to erect bigger and bigger government, and more wasteful
    and useless politicians.

    We must not throw money (and certainly not MORE money) at either any problem or any local, state or federal politician. They must be forced to do MORE with less, not the other way around.

  2. Except that the State of CA is essentially bankrupt while the Commonwealth of VA is far from it. I’m with Steve on this one… Virginia does not have career politicians as California does. Our citizens and politicians can’t agree on a viable solution to our long-standing traffic woes. If I lived in CA, I would probably agree with you Rick. We are literally and figuratively stuck in traffic because no one has the fortitude to develop and execute a plan to solve this issue. Forgive the cliche but I can’t resist…your mileage may vary.

    Hi Steve – long time no chat…hope you’re doing well – still at Cheatham Annex now in CIVLANT…

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