As hopefully my readers in the U.S. are aware, 15 April is tax day! Because it falls on a weekday this year, you won’t get any extra days. If you still haven’t filed your taxes, you should do that! Even if you’re late, it’s OK.
I, personally, got a few refunds this year (based on my locations of employment), including a nice bonus from the federal government! I still paid taxes, mind you, in terms of medicare and social security (not to mention sales taxes all the time!), but I was part, as an article I read notes, Nearly half of US household escape income tax (if you can call me a “household”). I’d make some comments about this fact, but I think it’s already been done well at another blog called the “Hillbilly Report,” for all you rural progressives out there, apparently c:
Instead, I want to talk about what all those income taxes that are collected are used for! Perhaps one might say that only those 53% who pay income taxes should decide how they are used, and that might be an interesting way to go, but until that day, I’ll have my say.
There is a nifty little chart/flyer put out by FCNL that shows how income tax revenues are distributed. As we continue to think about health care, we should not be surprised to see that 17% (or $532 billion) of such taxes go to health care costs (and that doesn’t include medicare!) — as the flyer notes, this “Includes Medicaid, public health, Indian Health,
National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and related programs.” We also know that tax money goes toward things like transportation, education, and other “basic needs” we have in the lives we live.
However, what gets me is that 1/3, or 33%, or $1 trillion (also written as $1,039.5 billion) goes toward Pentagon spending for current and past wars! That far exceeds the minimal 1%, or $36 billion, that goes toward “Diplomacy, Development, and War Prevention.” And actually, the “war” percentage is lower than usual because we spent so much money on the bailout and government economic relief — that number was 43% a year ago and is expected to rise to 38% again in two years, even with our current President Obama.
What we see here is continued belief that what makes the U.S. safe and secure, not to mention a country not to be trifled with, is our military strength. They say “fences make good neighbors,” but I think having friends around you is even a better strategy in the end. Instead of spending (wasting) money on wars and war machinery, we need to transform our country into one working for peace and reconciliation with countries around the world, recognizing that our differences need not mean hostility and war. Especially in these tough economic times, we need to reduce war and military related spending and step into the world of diplomacy and peacemaking. If not now, when?