I, Piggy Bank
My 401(k) is down 30 percent, my employer just cut the match, and it looks like I may have to work until I'm seventy years old. I also pay for pensions to public employees who retired in their fifties.
I don't have enough money to go on vacation this year, but I paid my share of the federal government's $2.6 million grant to teach Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly. I pay for bridges to nowhere.
I drive a 1997 Honda Accord, but I had to pay for my neighbor's $41,000 electric car. I also bailed out the United Auto Workers.
I contribute to my children's 529 college savings plan, but since I don't qualify for financial aid, I pay for other people's kids to go to school as well. I also pay for the sociology classes where I am sneered at for my lack of social conscience and denounced as the very essence of greed, racism, and environmental insensitivity.
I exercise regularly, watch my cholesterol, and pay for my own health insurance as well as copays and deductibles. I also pay for Other People's tonsillectomies, appendectomies, and occasional rhinoplasties. I pay taxes for Medicare, Medicaid, and various medical programs for poor children, and now I will get to subsidize the health care of several millions more nonelderly, nonimpoverished Americans.
My small business just lost its line of credit, but I paid to bail out Citigroup, AIG, and Goldman Sachs, whose executives get bonuses bigger than my entire net worth.
I pay my mortgage, but I also pay to bail out banks that made risky loans and yuppies who have trouble paying $700,000 mortgages on their McMansions they bought with no down payments and adjustable-rate deals.
I pay for groceries for my family, but I also pay millionaire farmers not to grow stuff like rice. I buy dinner for more that 42 million food stamp recipients (although they now call it Food Shares). I also pay for school lunches. And breakfasts, since other parents apparently can't be expected to feed their kids. I get red meat once a week, but I pay for urban hipsters to buy organic salmon at Whole Foods.
I pay my electricity and gas bills, but I also pay for other people's air conditioning, cell phones, digital televisions, new windows, subsidized rent, and remodeling.
I pay for my daughter's ballet lessons, but I also pay for universities to develop computerized choreography programs that will help create "interactive dance performances with real-time audience interactions." I probably won't be able to make the show, since I'll be working.
I'm trying to save enough money in case I lose my job, but I pay for more than seventy different means-tested poverty programs.
Because I work hard and am successful, I am in the 10 percent of Americans who now pay more than 71 percent of the total federal income tax burden. Te top 50 percent of earners pay 97.11 percent. In other words, the bottom half of American earners, theoretically 50 percent of the electorate -- pay less than 3 percent of federal income takes. I pay for them.
I pay property taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, taxes on my phone, my cable, my water, state income taxes, Social Security, and Medicare taxes. I also help pay the bills for the nearly half of households who no longer pay any federal income tax. I also pay the bills of the 60 to 70 percent of households who receive more from the government than they pay in.
I expect no gratitude for any of this; it has been years since the term "provider" was a matter of societal respect and personal pride. I understand that the transfer of wealth from makers to takers is seen as morally purer than the efforts of those who created wealth in the first place.
I know my role.
I am the piggy bank.