Celebrating taxes, or at least the right kind of taxes

Grumble, grumble, grumble . . . What a huge chunk of money disappears from my pay cheques. Mutter, mutter, mutter . . . What an inconvenience all these tax forms are.

True. All true. But I don’t have to go far to notice my tax dollars at work.

I watch out my front window as a garbage truck comes right to my door and picks up my garbage. Amazing. When I was a kid on the farm, we had to drive it to a dump.

When I drive to the store, I feel safe on our roads. They are well maintained in Canada. In the winter municipal workers paid by my tax dollars salt the roads and clear them of snow. I know the other drivers on the road have insurance; provincial government workers paid by my tax dollars monitor this. If I do happen to get hurt in an accident, the hospital that receives me won’t cause me to fall into financial ruin. My provincial health care system, paid for by tax dollars, protects me.

When I shower, the water flows away through a municipal water-sewer system.

My son heads to school. How lucky are we Canadians? Our kids receive education. A precious gift. (Read about how I learned to cherish education in my post “Transformative Moments”.)

Our tax-funded societal structures are so integrated into our lives, a day cannot pass without us taking advantage of at least one of them. We take them for granted. We pay for them because we want to build a progressive society. We pay because we want people to have access to clean water, education, and health care.

Now, I won’t shove aside or ignore the long history of tax resistance in our country and around the world. Taxes are not always so wonderful. Check out the long list of incidences of tax resistance on Wikipedia. Whoa. Clearly we need to be vigilant. But with checks and balances in place to ensure governments are good stewards of our money, what we end up with is a pool of money with which to administer large, complex systems that would be too large and complex to administer on an individual level.

No tax system or the government that runs it is perfect, but even with some wrinkles, tax money remains the most efficient way for a country to take care of its citizens.

One of the most celebrated happy taxpayers is J.K. Rowling. The British billionaire author received welfare payments in the past. She now willingly pays taxes to her government to help out her fellow citizens.

When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall.” —J.K. Rowling

At tax time we’re often so busy grumbling about what we disappears from us, we forget to celebrate what, so effortlessly, comes back our way. 

Tax money disappears from us and then reappears in a different form. 


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on April 15, 2014, in Business, Gratitude, Inspiration. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Jennifer Grant

    Two of our best tax supported institutions are public libraries and the CBC. I believe that our most democratic institution is the public library. It provides free access to a wealth of knowledge to absolutely everyone. And I just love CBC radio – food for the mind.

  2. Marybeth Ellis

    Thanks for always reminding us of the positive side of things, Arlene! You’re absolutely right …. As usual !

    • It reminds of the “gratitude” advice I have heard in the past: when paying bills, write “Thank you” on the memo line of a cheque, because that way you focus on the value you received, not the money going out. It really works!

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