15 November 2006

Education and Taxes

I met a man several years ago at a political gathering. He looked like a crazy old kook whose name would be "old man McGreevey" if he was a character on Andy Griffith. As it turned out, he was a crazy old kook whose name was something else. He was explaining to a few people that it would be difficult for them to contact him since he was "going underground".

He wanted to hide from the government because he had made the decision not to pay any more taxes. He objected to the use of his tax money for military spending, so he basically said that if the government was going to spend taxpayer money on the military then he wasn't going to pay any taxes.

"But what about the other things tax money is used for?" I asked. If he didn't have a problem with other things, why not pay some taxes instead of none?

He explained that there is no way to know if the government is using your taxes or someone else's to fund the military. So the only way is to withhold totally.

But it doesn't work like that, I said. They don't divy up different individual's payments to different areas. They just send a proportion of the overall receipts. In my view, it made more sense for him to figure out the portion of the budget that is spent on the military and just withhold that percentage.

I told him that, but he either ignored it or repeated what he had just said. I can't remember.

I remembered my encounter with the old man when I read this story about Cleveland State University winning a federal education grant which will improve educational opportunities for low-income students.

Education is a proven investment and can pay for itself many times over. I have problems with many things the government spends money on (who doesn't?) but education is definitely not one of them. And that includes the arts.


KatieG said...

don't you know by now you can't reason with kooks named mcgreevey.

agreed, btw, with your point...

Mark said...

It would be nice to have a line-item budget on the 1040 just to show how much is going where. It's not too tough to figure it out yourself but it might make people think about the Iraq war.

Michelle Fry said...

I like the idea about an itemized statement of where the tax money goes. I wish we could choose our allocations. I'd give mine to the arts and education. I can dream can't I?

WestEnder said...

I remember many years ago a Harvard student was curious about gov't expenditure so she itemized every dollar and put all the information into a book. It was about 15 years ago, that's all I remember. I can't find any more information.

I'm sure there's some kind of itemized list somewhere on the web. It would be interesting to look at.