The Madison County Journal
January 29, 2003
We need dramatic cuts in state, federal bureaucracies
President Bush says he opposes double taxation. He is speaking of taxing corporate profits, and then taxing dividends paid to stockholders out of the same money. He is right, of course. I oppose most of the taxes we have to pay simply because there are too many of them.
There are several other double and triple tax situations that he, and our new governor, could address. For example, we pay a double tax on our income. When you get your check, you will find deductions for Social Security and Medicare. Then you are charged federal and state income tax on the same amount. You are paying federal income tax on the money you just paid for Social Security and Medicare. Then you pay state income tax on the same money the federal tax man is taking out of your check.
Just think, if the tax tables were changed so that Social Security and Medicare taxes were deducted from your income before federal income taxes were computed, then federal taxes deducted before state income tax is computed, you would pay considerably less in taxes each week.
Now look at the gasoline tax you pay to drive your car. The price of your gas includes state and federal highway taxes. Then you pay sales tax on the total price. You are paying sales tax on money you have already paid in gasoline taxes. That is double taxation.
Again, when you purchase imported goods the price includes import taxes. Then you pay sales taxes on those import taxes.
The same thing happens with alcohol and tobacco taxes. You pay sales tax on the state and federal taxes added to the price. Now that Governor Perdue wants to dramatically increase these taxes, they will generate even more sales tax.
Do you see now why you work half the year to pay taxes and the other half to support your family?
We need to do two things. First, make dramatic cuts in state and federal bureaucracies. Georgia can get along with far fewer than the seventy three departments it now has. Federal bureaucracies are so vast, even the government accounting offices cant find and identify them all.
Next, we need to scrap the entire tax system and install a simple, clean, fair, easily administered tax system that raises only the money needed to operate simplified state and federal governments.
Conservative politicians keep promising to let us keep more of our money. That is a good idea. Eliminating these double and triple taxes would be a good start.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
January 29, 2003
From the Editor's Desk
Lets change our mindset
Admit it - we all love to complain.
And theres something about whining about whats wrong with the world today, about people (we never speak as if were part of the species during these diatribes), or about our government in particular that can really get us on a roll.
I started thinking about this recently when I heard a report on a national TV show that focused on the publics response to the fact that there are several hundred children missing from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Case workers have no idea where they are, nor apparently does anyone else who should. Most of these kids were put in shelters - government run facilities and then they simply disappeared.
Many are classed as runaways, even though many of them may not have actually ran away.
You probably remember the case of a Florida five year old whose grandmother had been trying for a year to find out where her granddaughter, who had been placed in the DCF system, was. The last I heard, that little girl still has not been found.
In a case cited in this particular report, a 17 year old girl was found recently in a lake, dead of a gunshot wound to the head, five months after DCF officials realized she was not where she was supposed to be.
How can they (meaning DCF) get away with operating this way and being so irresponsible with the children they are supposed to protect?
Well for starters, there has apparently been no public outcry.
Now thats not to say people have not complained. According to the journalist who filed the story, theres plenty of talk on the streets about it. Everyone is shaking their heads and grumbling and whining about it. The best thing thats happened so far is that a Florida child advocacy group (I cant remember the name) took the time to alert the national media.
But, according to the reporter, very few individuals have actually written or called their legislators, lobbied their officials, or offered to help in other ways.
And that seems really sad, as well as troubling, to me.
We have got to get out of the mindset that I believe a lot of us have - that we pay our taxes each year and thats it - that its the governments job to take over the reins and make everything okay for everybody - that all we have to do is take care of whats in our own little world and let the government take care of the rest.
And we have to realize that it often takes more than just writing a check to a cause we believe in.
Sometimes we need to spend some of our precious time working hard for what we want to see changed or made better; making phone calls, writing letters, and applying a little elbow grease.
Im not suggesting the citizens of Florida go out and investigate the cases of missing children themselves; thats obviously a job best left to DCF officials and law enforcement.
But as citizens, they can hold their feet to the fire and make sure those investigations are being done and keep the flame turned up until they see some results.
And in the meantime, they also can and should band together and lobby their lawmakers for changes in a system that allows so many children to fall through the cracks.
As has been shown over and over, in our own community and elsewhere, when we get together we can get things done, and generally get it done a lot better and more efficiently than government can.
So why dont we do just that more often?
Well, for one thing its easier (and more fun) to complain. And make excuses. Some of my own excuses frequently include: too busy, too stressed already, too tax poor, and/or too disgusted with government to give a rip anymore (theres that nasty word again).
And then theres this reason no good deed goes unpunished.
Thats a little expression I heard a long time ago and its stuck with me.
And Im afraid its true all too often. Sometimes it seems like when we work hard and selflessly on something, all we get from others is criticism that can feel like a slap in the face.
But thats when we have to remember why we cared enough to get involved to start with, and that its not about what we get, but about what might be accomplished to make things better in the future long after were gone and forgotten.
Thats the way it ought to be, anyway.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.