It is appropriate that April is the month we celebrate fools, because April is the month that the IRS comes calling looking for our money.
And if you are like me, you dutifully remit your payments to the tax man throughout the year, whether it is weekly or quarterly. And Uncle Sam takes that cash and does what he will with the money while our national infrastructure crumples to such a degree that our new president has to come into office and demand a two trillion dollar infrastructure bill.
I am all for the infrastructure bill.
The greatest accomplishment government has made in my lifetime that has impacted me on a regular basis - and this is not hyperbole – is the successful widening of I-84 through Waterbury. That was government at its best in my opinion.
You may argue that the moon landing or the COVID vaccine were greater accomplishments, I suppose. But for the glorious few years when I still commuted to work before COVID, cruising through the city on I-84 every day gave me moments of joy every single time. From my perspective, that was government legitimately doing something for me.
So if President Biden and Congress can reach agreement on fixing bridges, expanding roadways, and making broadband wifi more readily available to the masses in more places, then I am all for it. I can envision little moments of joyful experience every day for everyone if it gets done.
Who wouldn’t love being able to connect to the web quickly and without interruption whenever needed no matter where you are. Think of the possibilities for working remotely and enjoying life more.
Infrastructure is good for every single one of us, no matter if we are rich or poor, married or single, young or old, black or white, Catholic or Protestant. You get my drift.
But the proposal begs the question to our government leaders – what have you been doing with the hundreds of dollars we send you every week? Why haven’t you been building and rebuilding all along?
I have the answer. It was in the news this week.
Fifty-five of America’s largest corporations paid no taxes last year on billions of dollars in profits. You paid your taxes. I paid mine. Our neighbors paid theirs.
But the big boys who benefit the most from infrastructure paid none. Not even a thousand bucks. Nothing.
And now the same corporations that have gotten away with financial murder for decades are howling mad, as are their congressional allies, about the prospect of seeing corporate tax rates rise. My question is this – why should they care? Paying 28% of nothing is the same as paying 21% of nothing. If they weren’t paying taxes before, they’re not going to pay taxes later.
Meanwhile an infrastructure bill hangs in the balance.
Taking advantage of all of the opportunity that America has to offer, without paying any taxes, let alone a fair share may not be criminal, but it certainly is unpatriotic.
For years, these large corporate institutions have been playing the game of pitting you against me, and us against the folks on the other side of town. It is an age-old game of triangulation. If you’re a Trumper, or a progressive, or a Muslim, or gay, or black, or a woman – they want us to draw battle lines with you. The distraction helps them to continue to get away with not paying any taxes and forcing us to pony up two trillion more bucks for something that should have already been paid for.
It is time for us to put our arms around each other, march together, and stop the madness.