Boiled Frog and Taxes
I'm not sure if this is true, but then again I've never been able to test it. My second-grade teacher made it very clear to me that I shouldn't conduct any more animal experiments after I tested my ill-fated "Can the class hamster survive on a week-long diet of Skittles and Mr. Pibb?" hypothesis.
Anyway, the point of the boiling frog parable is that radical change scares people and doesn't work. Turn up the heat on them slowly and they'll never notice.
Government understands this. Income tax and Social Security taxes are withheld from your paycheck. You never even had your money in your hand so you never miss it.
And when the government wants to spend more of your money on something, it's always presented as, "for just nickels a day, we can have an awesome light rail system everyone will, like, totally use."
Furthermore, we get all giggly when government sends us our refund checks in spring, even though that is just the government equivalent of getting your change back from the clerk after buying a stick of beef jerky with a five dollar bill.
So why are our pots starting to bubble? It's because a whole heckuva lot of people out there think the government should be doing everything for everyone.
Here's an example: school breakfasts. 50 years ago, it would have been unthinkable that the school would be feeding kids their morning meal. Today, we're crowing because we just handed out 4 million more free school breakfasts this year than we did last year. Since it's the school's responsibility to make sure some kids eat breakfast and lunch, can dinner be far behind? The logical extension of this nanny-statism ends with the lunchlady knocking at my grandkid's door with a pudding cup for his midnight snack. Yeah, yeah, nobody wants kids to go hungry, but is it really so outrageous to suggest that parents be responsibly for feeding their own kids?
So we have a situation where government is doing for people what people should be doing for themselves and the taxpayers footing the bill are barely noticing. We're inching toward full-fledged socialism without even realizing it.
There is only one solution to reverse the trend - we need to change the law to make it so we have to pay all of our taxes at once. And when I say "all taxes" I mean all taxes. Federal. State. Local. Income. Sales. Property. Alcohol. Smokes. No withholding. All at once.
You made $40,000 this year? You owe $15,000 in one shot. Pay up. Your family income is $100,000? Your check for $38,000 is due right now. You're a pack-a-day smoker too? Better tack on another $650.
Your giant tax bill is due one week before the general election.
Imagine if that is how we did it. Heads would explode. The beauty of having to pay taxes this way is that it would sure get the conversation started about how much is enough when it comes to government spending.Maybe it IS worth millions each year for state government to consistently overpay for a ton of land to keep it out of the hands of private owners. Maybe it IS worth county government to have union employees who primarily cut grass to be on the payroll in February. Maybe the $16 billion we pay NASA to keep an eye Uranus for us is worth it. But maybe it ain't. I'm even willing to have the debate on stuff I think we should spend a ton of money on, like national defense.
If this pay-it-all-at-once plan doesn't get us to jump out of pots, nothing will.