Death and Taxes

Our narcissistic age

Well, you’ve got until midnight tonight to file.

We all hate paying taxes. We whine incessantly about the burden, even though our parents and grandparents paid far higher rates than we ever have. And, they did it while fighting two World Wars, and a Great Depression that made 2008 seem like a holiday.

Ohh, they also managed to build most of the infrastructure we now take for granted, like the federal interstate highway system, most of the dams and bridges in each state, and, at the same time, help rebuild Europe and Japan.

Of course, they didn’t have to have big screen flat panel HD TVs in each room, separate Lexus SUVs for every member of the household, iPhones and iPods and laptops and Bose sound systems. They didn’t need 6,000 square foot homes, with central air conditioning, and expensive outdoor water features, and massive redwood decks, and 3-car garages.

Somehow they managed happiness without paying landscape architects, and maids and gardeners. They actually spent weekends playing board games with their kids, in their 2000 square foot homes, rather than heading to their mountain cabin in Vail.

Funniest of all?

We remember these as “the good old days”, as happier times.

Consider this, just for a minute…

Those who defend the right of life of the weakest among us must be equally visible in support of the quality of life of the powerless among us: the old and the young, the hungry and the homeless, the undocumented immigrant and the unemployed worker. Such a quality of life posture translates into specific political and economic positions on tax policy, employment generation, welfare policy, nutrition and feeding programs, and health care. Consistency means we cannot have it both ways, We cannot urge a compassionate society and vigorous public policy to protect the right of the unborn and then argue that compassion and significant public programs on behalf of the needy undermine the moral fiber of the society or are beyond the proper scope of governmental responsibility.” ~ Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago

Or this…

If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.” ~ Buddha


Every major religion says the same thing. If not in compassion, wherein lies our humanity?

Just for today, Tax Day, think about those who have so much less than you.

Think about the privilege of living here, in this time of unbelievable abundance and ease.

Think about our grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and the legacy we want to leave them.

Do we want to be thought of as we think of our own grandparents?

Aren’t we also capable of self-sacrifice, just a little, for the common good?

Isn’t that partly, at least, what has made America great?