Tax day

There are only two absolutes in life— Death and taxes.

Tax day may be daunting for many Americans. Some people owe thousands of dollars to the federal and state governments. This year, the federal government has extended the date to file and pay your taxes until April 18.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people complain about taxes. The most common types are income taxes, sales taxes and property taxes. However, there are also inheritance taxes, capital gains taxes and corporate taxes.

Unfortunately, many tax rates are expected to increase in 2011 and 2012 unless President Obama extends some of the tax cuts put in place during the Bush administration. The capital gains tax will increase from 15 percent to 20 percent and the estate tax will increase from 0 percent to 45 percent.

I do not like paying taxes as much as the next person, but complaining about them will not stop the government from collecting them. Taxes are the primary source of revenue for the federal and state governments.

Governments use tax revenue to fund law enforcement, war, public education, infrastructure construction, healthcare systems, public utilities and more. Without taxes, we would not have water and sewer systems in our cities and public transportation would not exist.

We are all aware that Michigan’s economy has struggled over the past few years. The state’s General Fund, used to pay for the majority of expenses statewide, had nearly $9.5 billion in 2007-08. In 2010, that had dropped to less than $7 billion.

The real argument should be about where the government is spending our money. Lobbyist groups in Washington D.C. fight every day for politicians to pass bills that supports their cause. Any more, these groups are the only people that can get politicians to listen. The driving force behind almost everything in the business and political world is money.

There is no such thing as free. The government tries to sell us on “free” education or “free” healthcare. It’s not free. You pay for it. I pay for it. n