April 15 is customarily a day for moaning and groaning by taxpayers across the country, but too often the complaints are unfounded. People who complain about taxes don't understand a lesson my late father—a conservative Republican—taught me. He used to say that he was honored to pay his taxes because he knew some government was necessary and taxes are the price. (My late mother-in-law, a Democrat, added that people should be happy that they earn enough to owe taxes.)
But that isn't to say that this tax season doesn't have a few true targets for taxpayer ire, including the bill quietly racked up for President Bush's marathon war in Iraq. Or—for those who live in the District of Columbia—the scandal that has engulfed the Office of Tax and Revenue.
There should be more than a tinge of disgust this year, though, from taxpayers who recognize future generations are in for a jolt. The war in Iraq is into its sixth year and the bill of $12 billion per month—as recent studies pegged the price—will be passed on to future generations. No sacrifice is asked by this administration. In fact, it is pushing to make permanent tax cuts that are set to expire in coming years.
Few taxpayers seem concerned that the primary cost of the war is not included in the federal budget because it's considered an emergency. The United States has borrowed money from foreign markets, especially China, to make payments.
Some day that debt of a few trillions will have to be paid. But Bush and has advisers are not talking about that, and the activists who make up the core of the party don't figure to help the problem.
Taxpayers should read the April 13 New York Times magazine and an interview with Grover Norquist. He is the tax-cutting bully who threatens any legislator who thinks about boosting any tax.
Though a Republican, he has clashed with John McCain with fury in the past. But they have patched things up because McCain now supports making the cuts permanent—music to the ears of Norquist.
But it's bad news for anyone with fiscal sense.
In Washington, where taxpayers are hit with a hefty local income tax, the city's tax office has endured a major scam. Some $50 million in real estate refunds went into the pockets of workers and their helpers.
The money paid for expensive cars, trips abroad, fancy clothes, and other luxuries. And the theft was carried out over a number of years. The alleged mastermind of the scheme was an $80,000-a-year employee who drove a Bentley. Shouldn't that have aroused some suspicion?