Today is Tax Day.
"Yippee!", you say? "Go to Hell!" is what you really mean?
Why is today the most dreaded day in the land? The folks over at Demos have a wonderful message out regarding this very topic, entitled, "Giving Meaning to Taxes":
Over the last week the media -- from blogs to major news outlets -- have commiserated with all of us who must complete our tax returns by midnight tonight. In most of this coverage, Americans are cast as victims. We are taxpayers bearing up under the obligation to pay into federal and state coffers. Some are stoic in the face of the inevitability of "death and taxes," while others burn with resentment. We dread the task of hauling out that folder of receipts and calculating just how much of our income we have to hand over to Uncle Sam.
All of these stories reflect aspects of tax season reality for Americans. What is missing from this picture is any sense of a larger meaning in the act of paying taxes.
Thus starts their very inspiring essay on this day most of us should cherish:
Most other things that require effort and sacrifice -- family, service, charity, and volunteerism -- have virtuous, or at least redeeming, meaning associated with them. That meaning helps us face life's challenges with a sense of a larger purpose that makes these acts worth the sacrifice.
The stories we tell about tax day reflect a chronic disconnection from our role as citizens; they are devoid of civic meaning. Taxes pay for the things that underpin our public life and connect us to one another through our communities, our states and our country. When we lose sight of this, taxes are seen as merely depriving us of our individual property. If, on the other hand, we see ourselves as stewards of a common good, as citizen managers of public systems and structures that secure the city, state and country we live in, then taxes are our contribution to something important that is bigger than we are.
We all need to be telling a new and meaningful story about tax day that celebrates the concrete opportunity it offers "we the people."
Amen to that!
Read on for more inspiration, then jog on over to the Whitehouse website where you can enter the amount that you're paying in taxes today in order to get "Your Federal Taxpayer Receipt" that details where your money will be spent. Just like we mentioned back in October!
Maybe the Whitehouse was reading our blog...
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