Monday, 03 November 2008
Many (although I hope not all) conservatives would have us believe that the lower class and lower middle class do not pay taxes. I think we can all remember a certain politician recently saying that the portion of citizens who don’t make much money are not paying taxes therefore don’t deserve the tax break that another candidate is suggesting.
This outraged me because my husband and I spent the first few years of marriage in the lower class and we have spent the rest of our marriage in the lower middle class tax bracket. This experience in both income brackets has inspired me to bust a few myths about our taxation.
As for state and federal income taxes, my husband and I have paid into Social Security, Medicare, and income tax as long as we have been married. When our combined gross income was under $10,000, we still paid income taxes. In fact, since two of my employers back in 1994 did not take out any taxes for paychecks under $100, we owed an extra $500 at the end of the year. My step father, the uber Republican, insisted on paying our taxes that year. We argued that we wanted to take care of it ourselves but he would not hear of it. Fourteen years later, we are making more money and while we are still in the lower middle class, we are also still paying income, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. In fact, no matter how much we seem to have taken out of my husband’s check, we still always seem to owe more on state taxes.
Aside from income taxes, we pay other taxes as well. Regardless of one’s income, there is no escaping sales tax. To drive on any highway within a 50 mile radius of our home, we pay tolls, which is a tax. When we renew our vehicle registration, we are paying a tax. While we do not own our home, “You betcha” we are paying property taxes through our rent. No landlord or commercial property owner is going to eat property taxes. They pass it on to their tennants. Heck, when we pay for our utilities, we are paying all sorts of taxes on those bills. Has anyone out there other than me read all those bizarre taxes tacked on to electric, water, phone, and gas bills? Oh yeah! That reminds me! We pay taxes on our car fuel. They are the same taxes the rich pay. Did I miss any other taxes a lower income citizen may pay regardless of their income?
Don't get me wrong. My family is happy to pay our taxes. That money has gone towards our parents' military retirement checks, my husband's own military pay along with all other service members' pay (and medical care), my son's and all other public school students' educations. We are even happy to pay the 12% (quite tiny, if you ask us) of our total taxes that goes towards various welfare programs. In fact, we wish more of our money went towards those programs because we feel it is better to pay for saving lives than it is to pay for taking lives. But that is just us.
I find the idea that lower income citizens do not pay any taxes quite ignorant and repulsive. I have paid my taxes and I endorse this blog post.
What is the most important issue(s) to you when you decide on how to vote for president?