I pay taxes because I want to have health insurance when I retire (Medicare).
I pay taxes because I want to be able to go to the hospital and a doctor if I get sick or injured, even if I can’t afford it (Medicaid).
I pay taxes because I want the children in my country to get healthcare even if their parents cannot afford it (CHIP).
I pay taxes because I don’t want to pay ridiculously high monthly premiums or risk having to pay a massive hospital bill if/when I need healthcare (ACA subsidies).
I pay taxes because I want to be able to retire before I die. I pay taxes because I want my fellow Americans to be able to retire before they die. (Social Security)
I pay taxes because I want my country to be able to protect me and my fellow Americans if we are attacked, physically, mentally, or electronically, by a foreign power. I pay taxes because I want to ensure that our foreign ambassadors have protection.(Defense spending)
I pay taxes because I want to have a social safety net because no job is stable or guaranteed and often wages for even full-time jobs are insufficient for us to support ourselves and our families. (low- and middle-income subsidies) I pay taxes because I want to make sure that no American starves. (SNAP)
I pay taxes because I want a stable, sound economy, which requires the federal government being able to pay back loans on public-held bonds. (Interest on debt).*
I pay taxes because I want to drive on reliable roads without tolls or unreasonable restrictions. I pay taxes because I want to drive across bridges that are structurally sound. I pay taxes because sometimes I want to take the bus, or the train, or the ferry. (Public Transportation, National Transportation Safety Board)
I pay taxes because I want every person to have access to education, as education is one of the only proven ways a person can build a better life for themselves and improve their communities. (Department of Education)
I pay taxes because I want science and medical research to be able to progress without being beholden to corporate interests, because I recognize that pure research benefits humanity as-a-whole, and because I want that research to be publicly available. (Science and medical research grants)
I pay taxes because I want to have clean, on-demand running water in my home. (, EPA)
I pay taxes because I want to have reliable, reasonably priced electricity delivered to my home. (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
I pay taxes because I want to have reliable heating delivered to my home. And hot water!
I pay taxes because I want to feel safe in my community, to know that my intellectual and physical property, possessions and finances are protected, and to have a functional system of justice that applies to every single person. (FBI, Department of Justice, Department of Commerce)
I pay taxes because I recognize that the only way to have an ethical and functional capitalist system is to have regulations, because corporations do not, and will not, regulate themselves. Without regulations, capitalism devolves into a monopoly, which is the antithesis of a free market and is detrimental to society as-a-whole. Without regulations, we risk polluting our water, air, and soil which hurts every single American. (Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Drug Administration, Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Energy, Department of Housing and Urban Development, United States Department of Agriculture, Federal Communications Commission, Department of Justice)
I pay taxes because I want to have protections in my workplace for myself and my colleagues, and a way to enforce those protections. (Department of Labor, Equal Employment Agency)
I pay taxes because I recognize there is not an inherent profit to be made on some of the most important things that keep us safe and keep our economy functioning, including safety regulations, monitoring air quality, monitoring infectious diseases, inspecting packages, printing money and setting lending interest rates, and imprisoning violent people(EPA, Center for Disease Control, USPS, Customs and Border Protection, CIA, Department of the Treasury, Federal Reserve)
I pay taxes because I want to be able to have community spaces, borrow books for free, have consistent and affordable mail service, and preserve our history and culture. (Public libraries, USPS, National Archives and Records Administration)
I pay taxes because I want to have wild spaces that I can access and enjoy. (National Park Service)
I pay taxes because I want assistance in the event of a climate or other catastrophe that leaves my city and my community and my life in catastrophe. (FEMA)
I pay taxes because I do not have the time or energy or expertise to deal with all of the things required to make a complex society function. (City, State, and Federal elected officials, government workers)
I pay taxes because I believe in my country, I believe in its people, and I believe in our ability to make it better for every single one of us.
Is our system broken? Yes. Do I agree with all the ways in which my tax dollars are spent? No. But it is much easier, safer, and more effective to reform than to build from nothing. And that is the beauty in our system: that it is adaptable. But we must choose how we adapt it by listening and talking to each other, participating, and contributing. Because that is what it means to be an American: to always want something better and be willing to work for it.
- The services/programs listed are in order from most to least tax dollars consumed per person until Interest on Debt. More info: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/policy-basics-where-do-our-federal-tax-dollars-go
- Only federal agencies are listed. State, county, and city agencies are not included. But I’d recommend you check them out to see what they do — I am always surprised and stoked to see how much they do. And if/when you’re not stoked, call a representative. The more specific you are, the more helpful and effective your comment is. More info: https://www.cbpp.org/research/state-budget-and-tax/policy-basics-where-do-our-state-tax-dollars-go