High taxes are not a family value


I finally got around to opening my Fairfax County real estate tax assessment today. It was sitting in a stack of papers for a couple of weeks, and it has not improved with age.

They don't actually come right out and saw how much you're going to pay. No, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is coy about that subject, though they helpfully included a pamphlet explaining why assessments are completely justified and rational. Another shows the county budget that explains how they're going to spend $3 billion (that's right, with a "b") in fiscal 2006.

But we peasants should rejoice! The good people on the Board are cutting our taxes, you see: to offset the obscene tax increase, they are lowering the tax rates, from $1.13 per $100 of value to $1.03. I did the math that they didn't want to show us, and I see that what for us would have been a tax increase of $1,150 is "only" about $700.

In other words, I ought to shut up because my real estate taxes only went up 17% instead of 28%, and our county is such a wonderful place to live. But I can't help but ask the question: if the county was wonderful when it was getting $4,000 last year from the Johnsons, why does it need the extra 700 bucks next year? Inflation, sure — that accounts for about $100. There aren't 17% more students in the schools, and (thankfully) the cops don't have 17% more criminals to catch. The firemen aren't putting out 17% more fires. Et cetera.

To our family, the increase alone represents almost a month of groceries. Now I have to work for three weeks out of the year, just to pay my real estate taxes, mostly to support schools that my children do not attend. Those taxes are more than our phone, water, electrical, mobile phone, basic cable TV, and Internet connection bills combined.

It doesn't stop with real estate. My federal taxes will probably be more than all of those things I just listed, plus all of our grocery expenditures. Aside from our rather substantial mortgage — itself a result of the Board keeping a lid on the county housing supply — our biggest expense is paying The Man in all his guises.

And you wonder why suburban parents vote for Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin?


You selfish greedy capitalist neocon! You should be glad to rent back part of the wealth God has allowed you to rent to help the poor. A more important issue here, in my opinion, is the continued sense of entitlement that Catholics seem to have in rejecting the Holy Father's guidance on the moral issue of caring for the poor, instead worshipping mammon. You wonder why suburban parents vote for Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin -- the selfishness of middle-class suburban bourgeois Republicans.

This tendency of paleo-con Catholics to pick and choose on this question provides cover for liberal Catholics who justify dissent from the more important issues of abortion and euthanasia.

Your comment assumes that the local goverment spends the taxes that it raises helping the poor. Which they certainly do to some small extent, but not to the tune of the tax increases that the original poster outlined.

My experience with local governments has shown that governments are terrible mechanisms for helping the poor. If the government got out of the charity business and stuck to providing infrastructure, perhaps we, the middle-class suburban bourgeois would have enough money to fund private and religious organizations that actually effectively help the poor.

It is not worshipping mammon to protest the involuntary financial aggrandizement of Caesar at the expense of one's personal stewardship of his/her monies to the kingdom of God.

I doubt Eric lusts after his missing net revenue for the purposes of filthy lucre, of satiating his sensual desires for the things of this world. Rather, he bemoans his impeded freedom in Christ to use the money he earned through the job God provided him to better spend, save, and invest for the health and welfare of his family and for the same of the church and other charities and contributions to the poor and needy as he can direct personally.

Let's not mistake the vain promises of Caesar to clothe the naked, tend to the sick, and feed the hungry as reason to rob from us the greater opportunities we have as individuals and as a church to show the world that true relief for the poor and weary is in Christ and His Church.

I've been steamed about my most recent Fairfax Co. assessment, too, especially considering that the county spends more than 50% of this money on a school system that teaches students the great works of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison and how Karl Marx was a really nice guy who had good ideas that would work if we just tried.

I don't know which gumment agency subsidizes the free- and reduced-price breakfast and lunch programs, but the food served seems to be as bad for the body as the readings are for the mind. These programs have the added effect of training children at an early age to accept the dole as a way of life.

Bryan, the school food programs are run by the Department of Agriculture. I know this because I used to work for an association that dealt with school food. It's worse than you think: *EVERY* student gets a subsizided lunch, from the poor ghetto kid to the rich snot driving "his" BMW to school from his parents' $10 million mansion. The degree of the subsidy is determined by economic need, but every lunch is subsidized by the Feds. It's a thoroughly worthless program, and they should either restructure it to feed the poor or scrap it and leave it to the states.

Eric, you're right. I had no idea.

Leaving it to the states would be an improvement, but I would rather leave it to the parents. What's wrong with the brown bag? If Dr. Johnson was correct in stating that lunch is "as much food as one's hand can hold," a peanut-butter sandwich and a thermos of soup sounds like the answer to me.

I think there is something to be said for giving lunch to the truly needy, but that is not what the school lunch program is about. The whole point is to get agribusiness to the Federal trough, where they can sell huge amounts of their goods without having to sell to individual states or school districts. It's also a means to extend Federal control of the education system, because the subsidies go to local governments, not to individuals. School food is yet another program that uses the poor to benefit the rich and the middle class.

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This page contains a single entry by Eric Johnson published on March 16, 2005 12:28 AM.

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