BY SHARON MARTIN
People who call themselves conservatives often have no problem giving subsidies, tax breaks, and bailouts to corporations who send their workers overseas. They don’t have a problem committing soldiers and dollars to foreign wars that do nothing to keep us safe at home.
But you ask for a few million to keep the National Endowment for the Arts or public television alive and they’ll invoke their fiscal conservatism.
A trillion for war or a million for art – which do you think is the wiser expenditure? I’m pretty sure answers fall pretty evenly on either side of the political divide.
Regardless of which side you’re on, tax dollars aren’t a giveaway but money that should be returned to you in essential services. Do you begrudge the tax money spent to maintain a fire department? Do you complain about money that educates the children in your community?
In our right-sizing government, where can we cut fiscal corners that won’t hurt citizens?
What if companies large and small didn’t have to provide healthcare benefits for employees and retirees? The price per person for health care in the United States is double that of any other industrialized country. Making it part of the tax system would save a lot of money, but we hang on to a failing for-profit system. And we’re trying to take our schools and prisons there.
Some things are more efficient if the people own them.
Corporations drain education funding with worthless testing and overpriced textbooks. Profits, not results, are the motive. Smart tax money backs good public education that serves all students.
Corporate prisons must grow. We jail nonviolent drug offenders for corporate profit when drug treatment is less expensive and more effective. Smart tax money supports drug law reform.
We’ve bailed out big banks. What have big banks done for us in return? We’ve spent billions subsidizing agri-businesses.
What has Monsanto and Archer-Daniels-Midland done for us lately? Oh, yeah, we have high fructose corn syrup and seeds the farmers can’t save.
If we don’t prosper because our representatives don’t spend our money wisely, it is up to us to fix the problem.
We have to vote, protest, ask questions, occupy, and do whatever it takes to take our country back from special interests.
We can start by reminding our representatives that the people don’t serve the government; government serves the people. Tell them that tax revenues belong to the people, too. It’s our country and our money.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer