Recently I saw an article where a bunch of millionaires want to let the Bush Tax Cut lapse. This makes no sense to me. If they want to give extra money to the government, absolutely nothing is stopping them from doing it right now. Please feel free to give as much you feel is your patriotic duty.

Why would these people try to tell us it’s patriotic to pay more taxes? Our founding fathers were a bunch of gun-toting religious types, who started a revolution to not pay taxes. The Civil War was fought over the South not paying the taxes demanded by the North. If anything, it’s patriotic to throw tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes. Our founding fathers purposely did not allow an income tax in their lifetimes.

Yet here we are asking the question, is it patriotic to pay taxes? It is patriotic to follow the law, and paying your taxes is required in order to be a patriotic American. Buying war bonds is patriotic. Petitioning your elected officials to lower taxes is downright American.

Democratic representative Charles Rangel worked for the government his entire life. He was just told by Congress that he has to file correct taxes and pay his back taxes for the last 17 years. Keep in mind this is the man that is on the Tax Payer Ways and Means Committee, and sets our tax policy. You and I get no such treatment, and are at the mercy of whatever the IRS tells us, or we’d face jail time like Wesley Snipes is facing for three years of tax issues. Can you tell me why every Congressman is not audited every year to make sure they’re not taking bribes?

Unfortunately, we have a bigger issue at hand. In the end we have two ways of seeing the United States. One group believes that we need to require the rich to pay more taxes. That group believes that it is unfair that someone else was allowed to get rich, and feels those people need to pay a larger share of their income. The other group believes that we all should equally pay for our fair share of what we consume in America; that taking away the incentive to become rich taxes away the spirit that makes Americans wealthy in the first place.

You really saw this dynamic play out in our recent elections in Santa Monica. In a special election in May, over 12,000 people voted to raise money for the schools. In the end, most of those 12,000 people did not give their own money to get the schools the $6 million they asked for. Right after the election I chided those who did not join me in donating money to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. My hat is off to those folks who managed to put up some lemonade stands and raise $1.5 million. They understand you don’t need the government to pay for things. As a community, we can donate of our own free will.

That’s the problem. If you believe in choice, then you believe we all have a choice to raise money for our schools. And if you aren’t able to raise money for your school, then most likely the voters don’t value what the schools are doing. You need to ask the question: What should the schools do in order to attract the community’s money? That’s how you’ll solve this problem. When the community believes that the money is being well spent, they’ll have more of a tendency to vote for it. When we as Californians voted for billions of dollars in infrastructure repair, enough of us believed that it was a good idea to spend the money for those projects. Right now many people believe the teachers unions are preventing us from having good schools.

Mayor Menino of Boston recently said: “When a principal of one of the struggling schools accepted a grant from ExxonMobil to give teachers small bonuses when their students excelled, the unions took us to arbitration.” It essentially killed the bonuses.

It’s this type of behavior from the unions that’s causing a great number of voters to become disillusioned with the current group who have hijacked our school systems.

Another reason the voters are upset is they’re starting to realize that union employees make more money then they do, and they are not held to the same work ethic and standards as those of us in the private sector face. People like Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel. Most employers in the private sector had to take up to a 25 percent pay cut to keep their companies open while the public sector faced no similar hardship.

If you’re one of those people who believe we need more money right now for our government, by all means don’t take any deductions this year and send more money to our government. No one is stopping you. You have a choice, but don’t force other people to pay for things they don’t value.

We have fundamental problems in the way we use our taxes. Before we keep raising taxes we really should take a moment and fix the holes in the gas tank first.

David Alsabery can be reached at

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