Sorry for the missing post yesterday, I had to pay "The Man". Every year, Americans like me spend the first 3 months of the year compiling receipts and pay stubs to file our taxes by today, April 15th. Its a somewhat arduous task, but ask anyone why they pay their taxes, and the first answer is usually something to do with not wanting to go to jail for tax evasion. Yes. We pay taxes because we are legally required to. The common American does not think about the social contract they have with the government. The fact that they are actually paying the government for services rendered on a 24 / 7 / 365 basis.
The budget of the US Government is published online for all to see. Have you read it? Of course not. Technically you are a shareholder if the government was viewed as a corporation. If you owned stock in Apple, wouldn't you read the budget? Wouldn't you vote at shareholder meetings? If you have a significant stake. You would. For some reason we as Americans see a rift between us and the government. But again, what do we get out of taxes?
Well, there are the easy one: roads, national parks, healthcare, social security, the military... Is this it? Your taxes have had a much more nuanced effect than you might think.
A commonly overlooked government agency is the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Yes, they send things into space. That seems like the farthest thing from helping your day to day. However, the technology developed from those efforts is public domain! Any patents from those efforts are owned by the public. They can be utilized by anyone! NASA has a whole office dedicated to this effort, the Technology Transfer Program. So what's come out of this program?
- Those jumbotrons in sports stadiums
- Bank Terminals
- Safer drinking water
- Robotic Surgery
- Drunk driver testing
- Electric Cars
- Many, many, others...
So, there are shining lights in the darkness of government spending. Maybe, just maybe, we can make more light than dark through future elections. That, however, requires people to go to the polls. Arguably, maybe that should be required by law...