Editorial: Funding federal operations

Apr. 15, 2014 @ 10:12 PM

Excited wouldn’t be the word to describe a number of Americans today. But perhaps it should be, if we’re willing to take the positive attitude.

See an eternal pessimist for all the reasons for the negativity associated with the day federal income taxes are due.

April 15, for most everything else, is a relatively good day. It is the day of wedding anniversaries, birthdays and any number of other high-spirited celebrations. But as anyone with a moment to remember on this date can testify, most conversational responses also include, “Oh, tax day,” when speaking of the coincidence for their respective celebrations.

They may toss in a frown or a scowl for added emphasis.

When we realize the benefits, our attitude changes. At the very least, it lightens. It is that way with many things we dread. We’re entitled to the feelings of dislike, but the sagest among us wouldn’t trade our country’s place in the world with any other.

And paying our taxes is part of the equation.

Abraham Lincoln imposed the first federal income tax in 1861 when Congress was short on money, and the president was concerned federal authority of revenue from southeastern seaboard ports was in jeopardy. Our current income tax system came from the 16th Amendment, passed in 1909 and ratified in 1913.

The laws within our tax system are complex. Some work is needed. Lawmakers often create loopholes. The cycle repeats and becomes tiresome.

Also, we understand well the thought process on taxing and theft. Critics believe redistribution programs by governments amount to thievery.

But we do have a belief in the government system in which we live. And we understand with that comes the responsibility to fund it. The rub comes from our elected officials’ decisions on money we are taxed.

There are worthy arguments.

We’re in a midterm election year. And today’s tax deadline is another reminder we should be asking questions of the candidates. We need to know what they feel is important, how they’ll be spending our tax dollars.

If we haven’t already filed, today we’re telling the federal government how much we figure on contributing. We should get our money’s worth.