Tax Relief and Economic "Whoa!"
In these tough economic times, I can completely get behind government and private assistance, even bailouts if the Average Working Joe or Jane gets a break somewhere (bailouts being used for million dollar bonuses to executives are totally nauseating). And I can understand if tax payments need to be renegotiated so folks can still maintain a living. But there is an ad for a tax relief service on television that has me fuming.
The ad starts off with an everyday looking couple saying they owed $30,000 in taxes but when they went through this service they ended up only paying $3,000. The next couple (and these little bits always show a man and a woman, whether they are married or partners in some business) owed $100K and paid only $10K, or some such fraction. Each of the four or five bits increases the original amount owed, with the final being $3 million, and the happy couple reveals they actually paid $1 million. That's what this company does, eases the burden. Fine, except for one thing. These people seem more smug than relieved. They come across not as "Oh my goodness, we were so buried by all kinds of financial difficulty that we couldn't breathe and now we can afford food again." but as "Heheh. Screwed the government and, in effect, the rest of you people. Suckers!"
Now, as I said, I have no issue with helping folks when they need a hand. And I'm not going to argue the tax code here (mostly because I don't understand it). What gets me riled, and never ever willing to consider the company, is the attitude portrayed by the couples. Sure, taxes can be difficult to pay, but if they aren't paid many federal programs that do things like provide health care to kids, veterans and the elderly don't get sufficient funds. Schools don't get money, highways don't get maintained, etc. There's less going into the coffers, less to be used for the things we need. If taxes can't legitimately be paid because there are too many other things demanding payment and you need help, that's fine. Get help, pay what you can. But don't sound like you're happy about it. Because for every dollar you aren't paying, some program is losing a dollar.
I was raised to believe we are a nation that takes care of its own, and then some. That everyone should do what they can to help those in trouble. Folks receiving such things as tax aid should be, first and foremost, legitimately deserving, and yeah, even grateful that there is help to be found. Not grovelling and feeling like they are lacking, but appreciative. And even if you feel more smug than relieved, at the very least don't let the rest of us suckers feel like suckers.
Labels: on my mind