A liberal taxation

Oh, the bitter irony of the liberal required to pay taxes.

Yeah, that’s right. I owe the IRS 350 smackers. Trey and a half clams. I, Rob Schulze, for the very first time in my life, will be giving money to the government in tax form.

It comes as quite a shock. I’ve been working ever since I turned sixteen and Mr. Deluca gave me a job as a bagboy at Stop ‘ Shop. In the almost five year interval since then, tax time has been a welcome boon to my checking account, as Uncle Sam has cut me a decently fat check with alarming regularity.

This year, however, it is my auspicious fate to have crossed whatever invisible barrier separates the boys from the men and entered into the realm of the responsible, tax-paying citizen. They want my money, and they are damn well going to get it.

It serves me right.

All these years of being a bleeding-heart flaming liberal hippie bastard are finally catching up to me. Who wants to extend welfare? I do! Who wants socialized health care? Me! Who wants to spend massive amounts of money on everything from public schools to environmental conservation to affirmative action? Rob! Rob! Rob!

I’m the one who wants the government to suck up as much money as possible from the populace because, quite frankly, the populace doesn’t know what to do with it. The populace uses its cash to buy Twinkies, N’Sync posters, and Jar-Jar Binks memorabilia. The government, in my view, could use that same money to make sure that single moms have the capability to lead a productive and healthy life for themselves and their children. And, to do this, the government must get the money from the people, usually by taxing the living bejeesus out of them.

Sure, I definitely support the whole movement for taxing the rich until they scream for mercy, but I also think that, since everyone would conceivably benefit, that everyone should give, and that definitely includes middle-class slobs such as myself.

It was so great in theory. Now I have to actually live up to it.

And so I’ve been bitching and whining as though I were some sort of Republican or something. I’ve put sad, sarcastic away messages on my IM about the cruelty of it all. I cried to anyone who would listen. I have bemoaned the loss of $350 to the Internal Revenue Service far more than I ever regretted the loss of, say, my innocence, or my hair. Well, not my hair. But I still bitched about taxes.

Then I stopped.

I realized that this is the great test of the liberal. Any person must someday be called upon to put their belief to the test – the patriotic soldier when war breaks out, the religious person upon their deathbed, the pro-choicer with the pregnant girlfriend, the gay-rights activist who’s son comes out of the closet. These are the times when people are put to the test, when they have to, once and for all, face the hypocrisy test and practice what they preach.

The Democrat at tax time faces no situation near as serious as the ones I’ve pointed out above, but the parallel is the same. There is no choice, of course, regarding paying taxes, unless you want to experience a federal penitentiary from the inside. There is the choice, however, of becoming bitter. Of saying ‘Why me? Why should I pay for other people’s misfortunes? Can’t these people just get a job and let me keep my hard-earned cash?’ This is the test – to resist saying these things, to keep the ideals, to keep the greater good in mind.

I passed.

When April 15th does roll around, I am going to sign my check with pride. I am going to picture what my $350 is going to do within the great big-governmental scheme that dominates us all. I’ll picture chalk in an inner-city classroom somewhere. I’ll see the single waitress in a dead-end town buying food for her two children. I’ll realize that my minor sacrifice can, when combined with the sacrifices of those around me, make a huge difference in lives. This is the core of liberalism, which I’ve always verbally embraced, and now do also in actuality.

Of course, no one else in the universe feels this way besides me, which is why taxes are mandatory and not on a volunteer basis. So keep on bitching about the hit your wallets take on tax day, but take comfort, if you can, that at least Teddy Kennedy and I are happy.
Rob Schulze is a Collegian Columnist.