About this Blog

"In forty-five years, I never saw a tax cut put out a fire."
- Rep. Barney Frank

Why I Enjoy Paying Taxes is an ongoing experiment by Pittsburgh-based artist and writer Mike Cooper, in which he attempts to propose a different counter-argument to anti-tax hysteria every Friday. Some entries may be more easily defensible than others, but he'll stand behind every single one of 'em.

This blog is dedicated to, and would not exist without, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Q: What about those of us who're barely paying our bills as it is? Every little bit we can get back from the government helps.

A: Generally speaking, I would be in favor of any tax increases that might magically get through Congress at this point being significantly (or totally) weighted toward the wealthy. I believe that the more life in America has done for you personally, the more you have a responsibility--the more responsibility you should feel--to buy back into that system for the sake of others. "The least of my brothers", and all that.

That said, I started this blog when I was 29 years old, and out of my entire working life thus far, 2011 was the first year that I made more than 20 thousand dollars--and most of that time I made less than 15. So unless that amount of income sounds heavenly to you, chances are you can spare at least as much money for taxes as I can.

Q: But the government does such a crappy job with our tax money anyway--bridges to nowhere and so forth. Don't you think civic-minded people can do a better job of re-investing their own money than a bloated federal bureaucracy?

Does a poorly-made sandwich stand as an argument for fewer sandwiches, or better sandwiches? If you don't like what your tax dollars are paying for--and few do, myself included--then your goal should be to change that, not to stop paying taxes altogether. And if you are opposed to taxation as a concept, then at least call yourself an anarchist and have done with it.

Now, if the American wealthy had a more established history of genuine civic-mindedness, not to be confused with naming the occasional library after one's self, then there might be an argument to be made there. In reality, though, I think the federal government is the best we've got. And it's not like the rich don't have an unfair amount of influence over what the government is buying, anyway--the choice for them is really just spending the money themselves versus giving it to the feds and telling them what to do with it.