I paid my property tax on my car today. When I did it, I had kind of a strange realization. I like paying my taxes. It’s not that I like giving up the money. Believe me, I’d love to have that $90 in my pocket. But the act of paying taxes itself is pretty great.
One thing I like about it is it makes me feel like a no-kidding, real, live grown-up. As a kid, you think there’s this big change that happens when you transition into adulthood. That’s wrong, though. Seventeen and eighteen are basically the same. And so are eighteen and nineteen. And so on right up to your forties (at least). Whether it’s negotiating the cliques at work or trying to date, adult life doesn’t feel all that different from high school. It’s nice when I get a reminder that I am really an adult now.
Another thing I like about paying my taxes is that it’s one of the few things I get to do where I know I’m doing good. I think my full time job is pretty neutral, morally speaking. My part time job does some good. But between the two jobs, parenting and sleep, I don’t have a whole lot of time leftover to really contribute. I spend a little bit of money on charities each year, but I also don’t have a lot of extra money. I pay my taxes, though. I know that that simple act is contributing to children’s education, transportation for the elderly, parks and rec programs, infrastructure repair and maintenance and a whole host of other good things. It’s a good feeling.
Paying taxes also feels good because I’m doing my civic duty. It’s a little like the feeling that comes with voting (but not as good as voting). I pay my taxes and I know that I belong to something bigger than myself. My neighbors aren’t just people who happen to live near me. Together we’re turning a bunch of individuals into a society, and our tax dollars are a big part of that.
Now just because I like paying my taxes doesn’t mean that I like everything the government does with my taxes. That’s one of the tricky things about living in a society. There has to be room for disagreement. I think the fact that I like paying my taxes means that I ultimately have faith in Government. Not a particular government, I have absolutely no faith in the current administration, but Government in general. I have hope that the Government will survive the current administration and I can continue to enjoy paying my taxes.