Like the vast majority of you, I paid my taxes earlier this week. And this year, I did so with major resignations.
No, it’s not because I’ve suddenly become some “government-out-of-my-wallet” asshole. Quite the opposite: I’d gladly pay more taxes if it meant things like universal health care, free education and universal basic income — you know, things that actually put America first.
I paid my taxes with resignation because, with the current administration, my taxes aren’t going to be used to raise the disadvantaged, they will be used to raze them. On April 16, our Tweeter-in-Chief sent out this message: “Our military is building and is rapidly becoming stronger than ever before. Frankly, we have no choice!”
This, just a couple days after dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, and also taking us to the brink of war with North Korea (fingers crossed that a nuke isn’t dropped on San Francisco and this article makes it to publication).
I realize our tax dollars being overwhelmingly used to strongarm the rest of the world into accepting the United States’ international agenda is nothing new. The U.S. military doing nefarious things around the globe started with the Spanish-American War and really grew into itself after World War II. This is well-documented.
But what hurts is that, just for a moment before November, it felt like the tide was turning and that we might actually be moving toward a better world. All the awful things happening at home and abroad, from police killing innocent people to international terror incidents, made it seem like we were waking up. It made it feel like, if we just got through this election, we might be able to begin fixing these issues. It wasn’t Hillary Clinton who was going to take us there; it was grassroots activism and leadership from people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Corey Booker that was going to push the Democratic Party to live up to its promises.
Viewing it all from this current distance feels almost laughable. We were naive enough to think we might defeat white supremacy and that the Democratic party would actually work for the American people.
Instead of investing in our children, we’re gutting public education. Instead of encouraging the arts, we’re pissing on the National Endowment of the Arts. Instead of battling global climate change, we’re beating the Environmental Protection Agency like a goddamn pinata.
My tax dollars are going to bombs that will be dropped on poor people in poor countries, instead of being used to help poor people in this country succeed. My tax dollars are being used to turn people halfway around the world into an entire generation that wants to see my country destroyed. Bombs don’t liberate people; food, shelter and access to education does. Why aren’t my tax dollars being used to drop that on the Middle East?
And all this while that orange asshole in the White House doesn’t even have the decency to share his tax returns with us. We know why: He’s a liar and a thief, and his tax returns will prove it. My tax dollars are be spent keeping him in fake orange tans and golf shoes. My tax dollars aren’t being used to get new shoes for the people who live in tents on my street.
Death and taxes may be inevitable, but it’s a hell of a thing to know your taxes are going to cause death.
Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at BrokeAssStuart.com. Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.