Taxing thoughts

Let’s have some straight talk about taxes, shall we? Granted, nobody likes to pay them, but it’s an act of patriotism to do so. It’s our way of contributing to the common effort, whether to educate our children; build roads; take care of the poor, sick and elderly; or defend our country.

Yes, government is sometimes wasteful, and some government employees don’t work as hard as they should. Others are overpaid. But that’s true of people in the private sector, too. It doesn’t take living in Sacramento to know that most public employees are dedicated to their jobs and committed to doing them well.

But hey, you say, we’re already taxed to the max. Yes, it may feel that way, but in fact Americans’ incomes are now being taxed at the lowest level since Harry Truman was president 60 years ago. Federal, state and local income taxes consumed 9.2 percent of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Our problem is not that we’re taxed too much; it’s that we spend more than we take in. Right now stimulus spending is necessary, and we should be doing more of it until the economy recovers, when we can begin pulling back. In the meantime, though, we should generate more revenue by allowing the George W. Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 to expire, especially those benefiting the richest 2 percent of Americans.

And we should acknowledge that paying taxes is the patriotic thing to do, and that rebuilding America and lowering the deficit are good investments to make.