JOHN OXFORD: Ubiquitous taxation shapes our lives every day

So April 15, 2009 has come and gone. Our taxes should be paid or extensions filed. Come to think of it, maybe all of us should file extensions next year to delay the government’s collection so that big government can see what withholding feels like to us.
Speaking of, what a great American event it was to see 800 plus patriots venture into Tupelo’s Fairpark to peacefully protest the over-taxation and overgrowth of government in contemporary America through a symbolic TEA (taxed enough already) party. While the national media, other than Fox News, mocked the event, the true question that they should have been asking was why all the outrage over taxes and unprecedented growth of government? Well, on a local level, let’s look at an average day in the life of us North Mississippians.
We get up in the morning and place our feet on the ground of our property taxes. We get ready for work paying utility taxes on the water and energy we use. We eat our breakfast paying a grocery tax. We turn on the morning news and pay a cable tax.
We get into our cars to drive to work and pay a gas tax, a tag tax (which may soon increase), and an “ID” tax to hold a driver’s license. We go to work; our businesses and employers pay a payroll tax, inventory tax, sales tax, property tax, import/export tax, building permit tax, and too many more to list depending on the scope of the business or industry. We place a call on our cell phones to check in on our families and pay a federal excise tax, a state and local telecommunications tax, and a telecommunicator tax. Don’t believe me? Just look at your bill.
We receive our paycheck from our employer and are slapped with a federal and state income tax, Medicaid tax and Social Security tax. We go to eat lunch and pay sales tax again. We decide to take our family to see a movie and may pay a tourism tax on top of another hit by sales tax. We go to a wedding on the weekend and see a marriage penalty tax in the making. Taxed enough already? Apparently not.
Even when we decide to assemble, ironically, there’s a permit tax to protest taxation. Just by an unofficial quantitative count, the average North Mississippian pays over 20 different taxes everyday and that’s not even counting sin taxes, capital gains tax, inheritance tax, luxury tax, and many others that encroach on folk’s earnings and different life style choices during certain times. And this doesn’t even “account” for the unintended “tax” of dealing with the tax code such as accountant’s fees, computer software, time figuring your tax obligation, financial planning, IRAs, and figuring out any deductions.
Is it not obvious why many believe that we are taxed enough already? No one is saying that the need for safe roads, protection from bad things and people – both domestic and foreign, quality schools and legitimate social services should not be funded. We live in a nation with a high standard of living that we pay for and many sacrificed everything to defend.
It’s just this outlandish spending that’s ballooning our federal deficit while burdening our children with a catastrophic situation in the future is so concerning. Not to mention the tampering with free market principles through bailouts and the likes that with proper regulation, not lobbyist bought and overreacting regulation, should have taken care of itself. That’s what has everyone so “TEA’d” off.
Maybe when the federal government passes its record high budget this year, we should hold a fancy “SPA day” (spending preposterous amounts) protest to go along with these successful TEA parties to raise awareness of just how lavishly many of us believe the government is spending our money.
It appears better government NOT bigger government – no matter which party is in charge – is something of which politicians need to take note or they may soon find themselves on the unemployment line like 6 million other citizens they supposedly represent.
Oh and just kidding about the “SPA day” thing…most of us cannot afford to miss any more work or we will get behind on our taxes.

John Oxford, a private-sector banker in Tupelo, is a community columnist. Contact him at

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