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Wednesday, April 16, 2014


"The only certainties in life are death and taxes."
~ attributed to Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, and numerous others

"Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's."
~ Jesus

Since I wrote earlier in the year about death perhaps the day after we in the U.S. A. paid our taxes is a good time to reflect on the other "certainty" of life.

In January I basically said that in order to truly live one must first come to terms with the fact that one will die.  Doing so brings a freedom to our lives that allows us to relax and enjoy our days, weeks, and years.  I wonder if thinking of taxes in a similar way would relieve the burden of taxes that so many people seem to feel.

Living in community, whether in a family, club, association, church, city, state, or country, requires communal resources, the source of which are the individuals who make up the community.  If we expect and enjoy the benefits of community, we must also expect to provide our share to the general welfare of the community.  In our civil governments we call these contributions taxes.

If taxes are inevitable, then why not at least choose to see the positive side of paying them?  First, if we are paying taxes this means we have resources that are taxed whether property, income, or purchased goods.  Be thankful we have these resources.   Second, look at all of the things our taxes provide in the way of security, conveniences, services, and peace of mind.   Our collective taxes provide military protection, law and fire protection, highways, clean water, sanitation services, education, arts and humanities, and the list goes on.

Or we could choose to see taxes as a burden and continually complain about having to pay them.

All I'm saying here is we have choices as to how we view the inevitable things of our lives, which include death and taxes.

As for me, today my taxes are done and in the mail and I'm taking a deep breath and relaxing in the benefits they provide.  After all there is also another certainty of life and this is Life itself.  So, why not contribute to it, participate in it, and enjoy it?


  1. I try to take some satisfaction in the good things done with tax dollars when I reflect on the fact that I pay in, and on my responsibility to the wider community in many ways (including paying taxes and advocating for those funds being used in the best ways). The issue of fairness -- that on balance many wealthy people pay lower marginal rates than the middle class and poor -- also seems relevant.

  2. Thanks, Alex. I struggle with the fairness issue of taxes as well. I think that many of the advantages to the wealthy and educated are inherent in the complexity of tax laws, regulations, and filing requirements. As forms and formulas get more and more complex fewer and fewer people can "take advantage" much more even know about many available "tax breaks."