I have lived in Buffalo most of my life and spent most of that time being an artist and a woodworker. I didn't have a great education, but managed to get through college with some help from friends and some luck. I never made a lot of money, but I used some skills to make enough to enjoy life and appreciate it. I was born at a time in history where I didn't live in a cave or fight the Huns. I live in a great country in spite of it not being perfect, and consider myself very lucky.
I never married or had children, but I did manage to pay my taxes every year. Now I know that some of that tax money was wasted in a large government. It's kind of like having a car or a washing machine. You don't get to run it with 100 percent efficiency. That's life. Deal with it.
I do know that some of my money went into the educational system to educate other people's children. I'm good with that - happy to have more educated people around to improve the country and, by so doing, improve my life.
Much of my tax money has also gone to government workers, paying for their salaries. Some of those workers actually work for us, from auditing our taxes to fighting fires - you name it, it's a big system.
There is a lot of talk about shrinking government and concern about the recovering economy. If I wanted to shrink the government and put thousands of government workers out of work (and onto the unemployment lines) I could save enough on my taxes to actually buy a cappuccino. For a whole month of those wonderful drinks off my taxes, I could make a real mess of the government, reducing government efficiency, too. Some people might suffer in the process (sorry if your house burned down and the firefighters were on the bread lines) but that's not me, I'm lucky.
Will your kids get a lesser education because money is lacking? Too bad, the rich will still have a few great schools that will take in their children. Will we have enough government workers to monitor industrial pollution or can we bring back Bethlehem Steel? (Get out your gas masks.) Can we get the government to stop the banks from bundling mortgages and mishandling investments? That may take even more government oversight.
In a recent speech, President Obama talked about how some people weren't successful on their own, and that other factors helped with their achievements. I felt I should take a bow. It was my tax (and yours) that helped pay for the educations of some successful entrepreneurs. Our taxes went to building schools, developing the Internet, space travel, highway systems, etc., things we all need and use on our way to success. Too bad we didn't do more.
I don't hate the rich or even envy them. Those "lucky dogs" who made it really big, who are now paying the lowest tax rate in 70 years, who have enough money to collect dividends without getting their hands dirty, who have benefited from tax loopholes, who had great connections, who avoided going to wars, who inherited money and property, I ask, where is your patriotism?
Why don't you want to pay more tax at a time when more is needed to improve the health of the nation? Why do you bank money overseas? How much money does it take to make you feel good? How many rooms in all your houses do you need? Just how do you spell greed?