Our Screwed Up Taxes

Like most everyone, I hate paying taxes. It’s not that I don’t believe in paying to a government to provide the services and protections our country needs; really I do. What I don’t believe is that our taxes are being used wisely and that I feel like we are being way overtaxed because of such misuse.

Of course, it is easy for me to make such sweeping statements without any detail; but that is still how I feel.

We all have read the stories of government excess and misappropriation of funds. We have all heard the news of government contractors charging hundreds of dollars for a hammer or screw either as outright criminals or the just as criminal good old boys network. All these things leave a bad taste in our collective mouths when we pay our required money to our state and the federal government.

All those regular taxes aside, the ones that really get me are the less than ordinary taxes we get hit with. I have written before about my feelings about prize and inheritance taxes, but within a recent article, I see another mention of taxes that cause me to grind my teeth.

If you hadn’t read or heard, the college student that was fortunate enough to emerge from the mele for the Barry Bonds record-breaking* (asterisk included) home run ball decided to auction it off. You can read about the ensuing news and interesting choice to open to the public the fate of the ball by the new owner. In the subtext of the article, though, is the part that stood out to me.

He decided to sell it, he said, because he couldn’t afford the tax bill that would result from holding onto the ball.

Some tax experts said Murphy would have owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes based on a reasonable estimate of the ball’s value even if he had never sold it. He may also have faced capital gains taxes as the ball gained value.

How wrong is it for a person to end up with a valuable ball at a baseball game to end up having taxes levied against him at the purported value of the ball> Hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes?! Our government has no business labeling this transaction one deemed required to be taxed. Now when he sells it, that makes some more sense, but if he simply has it in his possession without having purchased it in the first place it is ludicrous to have the government involved at all.

I feel the same way about person to person vehicle sales, inheritance, prize winnings, etc. The government needs to get their hands out of so many pockets and make better use of the funds already being collected. Quit looking for more ways to take a larger portion of our money and do a better job being efficient with what you have. Quit deficit spending and set an example for our nation and start the hard road of working your way out of debt and living within your “means.” How can we expect the American public to do it if our nation as a whole cannot do it either?