Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

Taxes? Revolutionize THIS!

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Welcome to Tax Day in America. While the left and right square off over taxes, here's some more food for thought:

We're a basic middle class family. Our tax burden has actually gone down, even though we can't write off home interest any longer. So why are people like us still spinning our financial wheels? It ain't taxes. Allow me to count the ways:

  • Banks that giveth interest on one hand, and taketh away with higher fees on the other.
  • Electricity and insurance rates in Texas that are higher than the rest of the country, thanks to deregulation of the power industries and lack of insurance regulation. Please tell me: Why should my little house in the suburbs cost more to insure than that house on the Florida coast? Or that home on the San Andreas Fault? Why do we keep doing more and more to conserve energy, yet our bills keep spiraling ever upward? And then there's car insurance. Oy. Kid turns 21 in a couple of weeks or so. I'm hoping for a small reduction, but I'll bet it'll be just enough to cover a cup of coffee.
  • Health insurance. I'm not sure that's been "fixed." It's a necessity, like home and car insurance.
  • Tuition rates. They've climbed across the board much faster than the rate of inflation. Texas deregulated tuition rates, and now we're paying about twice what we were told to save when Chris selected his school of choice. Ouch.
  • Downward pressure on wages. Talk to a freelancer sometime. I was grousing to a friend this morning that people are now offering $5-10 for jobs that used to pull in $100. And then there's the usual stuff going on in this sort of economy that's just cyclical. Companies that hire freelancers tend to take more work in-house - at least in the businesses I work with. That's something I understand, even though it hurts my own income. I think that part will get better as the economy improves, but the downward pressure isn't going to go away. It might ease up, though, but I don't expect to make the kind of money off of writing copy that I used to, even in better times. I just need to find other income, and I'm working on that.
Taxes are nothing compared to the above, but it's easier to point fingers at taxation and government spending. So what do we do? Get a smaller house? Turn out all the lights? Work in the stifling heat or freezing cold, depending on the season? Oh, that would put my asthma in a frenzy and I'd have to see the doctor, and... That way lies madness.

So while our governor courts the Tea Partiers today, think about what this state has really done for us middle class folks. It's not the taxes that are killing us.

Tags: Politics

Filed under: Politics            
4/15/2010 9:56:51 AM
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