That’s not fair!

Well, yesterday evening at the dinner table, as he was exuding great excitement about the money he had earned, I broke the news to my son – he was going to have to pay me some taxes. To put it mildly, he was not happy. So then I explained to him that if I don’t pay my taxes the government will take my stuff and then throw me in jail… so if he didn’t pay his taxes I’d take all his money and ground him. He was very upset. My son’s refrain was, “But that’s not fair! I worked hard for that money, it’s mine!”

You’re probably out there thinking – “Wow. You’re a jerk.” And if you are thinking that, then I at least hope you’re a fiscal conservative and not some hypocritical liberal… but I digress.

My son got livid (and rightly so) at the idea that I would take away a dollar from him and then use that money to go buy my 3-year old an ice cream cone. I should note that my 3-year old thought it was a great idea. Interesting how one loves the idea of using the coercive power of the government to wrest money from the hands of those who’ve earned it when one stands to receive a kickback from it… but again, I must apologize, I’m off track.

My son was prone to thinking that we shouldn’t have taxes at all.

I then explained that taxes are used for various purposes. Sometimes, yes, money is taken from people who have earned it and is redistributed to those who haven’t, – and that dear reader is nothing other than government sanctioned thievery. But that isn’t ALL that taxes are used for… As I told my son, I feed him, clothe him, keep him sheltered, transport him places, provide him with entertainment… why shouldn’t I ask him to put some money into the pool? I explained that just as I do these things for him, the government has some basic responsibilities toward its citizens – providing defense, keeping infrastructure working, etc., but the cost is far too great for any one person to pay, so since everyone benefits from these things, everyone chips in a little bit to pay the bill… and that is fair.

In the end, it was a great lesson in taxation and the uses of tax dollars (some legitimate and others less so).

And in case you’re wondering… at the end of the lesson… no, I didn’t take my son’s money. What can I say? I may rule my house as a monarch, but at least I’m a benevolent one.

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