I went to see my tax man yesterday, that paragon of the green eyeshade.
"I'll do what I can, of course, but . . . ."
Today I wrote the check for my final payment to the relevant department of revenue and my indebtedness for last year's residency in the land of the free is gratefully and willingly liquidated. I am a citizen of the U.S. of A. without debt or blemish, although I still don't know who's been counting the keystrokes on my computer. Don't mistake my intent - this is not some jeremiad against the intrusive hairy arm of Big Government picking my pocket.
"Well, we won't be needing this any longer, will we?"
Quite the contrary, in fact - I believe we should all pay up, in good cheer and with an unstinting openhandedness, for the privilege of living in a nation where the federal mileage rate is 51 cents per mile (not a bad bargain if you don't share my civic euphoria and decide to leave).
After all, a nation is among other things a commonwealth, which implies a mutual responsibility upon everyone in it to foster the well-being of everyone else. This is presumably why at least six states in the Union proclaim the month of April as Confederate History Month and encourage their citizens to dress up and run around in front of others of their fellows who may take a different view of such matters. (Diversity of background and belief is a watchword with me.)
"Rotchere's where they plugged Great-Grandaddy."
In any case, I take my responsibility for others seriously. So each spring, when I pay my taxes, I append a list of things I would like those funds to buy for the betterment of my fellow Americans. This year, knowing federal money might be in short supply with a national jobless rate of 8.9 percent, I kept my list pretty short.
My priority of course is education - better schools and (just as important) school security are America's future:
"Gen'ly I won't fire if they look to be under twelve."
Secondly, I stipulated that a percentage of my taxes go to a sane energy policy, which means offshore drilling like you've never seen:
"Oil Painting" (by J.M.W. Turner)
Every time this topic is brought to the table, the sentimentalists are promptly in arms and papering the streets with photographs of poor pathetic pelicans. But a few pelicans measured against our nation's security? It simply doesn't compute. Sure, the little beggars drenched in crude oil are photogenic and unfailingly appealing to the weepy-eyed sentimental, but I've eaten smoked oysters that looked worse than this:
We really have to stand together on this one - our existence as a species, Homo americanus, is being threatened by our dependence on foreign sources of oil.
I stipulated that a certain percentage should go to our national highway infrastructure. In years past, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has supplied vats of house paint to neutralize nightime visibility, and turned the job of highway striping over to unemployed painters of the early Impressionist period:
Interstate highway in Colorado (after tax-funded upgrades)
Of course I would have wished to bespeak a small portion for the public health, but not even our federal government can bear costs like that:
"Sooo, you'll be requiring some insooorance, ehhhh?"
I've never had any acknowledgement from the IRS of my request for appropriate disbursements of my tax monies - nothing, that is, until I paid last year's taxes, when I received a nice postcard from the agency showing me what I had bought:
I paid my taxes, and all I got was this Tomahawk missile. Fortunately, it missed.