05 February 2011

A Thought Experiment - Did I ask you to breed?

Here is a thought experiment that is born out of two recent stimuli: 1) the recent discussion on the repeal of the Health Care Law and 2) paying my property taxes.

Some of my politically conservative Christian friends and colleagues have been opining about how God doesn't like it when the government forces people to look after other people. So this got me thinking about my property taxes.

You see, 66.95% of my property taxes are going to our public schools. In a town that voted Republican, in a county that voted Republican, in a State that ousted the Democratic Governor for a Republican one. We are really Republicans around here. I can vouch for that because I keep hearing about how all the government wants to do is tax us and take away our freedoms.

It's kind of ironic. I voted twice for an increase in our property taxes for the purpose of funding schools and not only do I not have children in the local school district, I don't have children full stop. I did it because I believe that we have to look after one another in society and that the education of the children in this community is about the good of the whole, not about me.

I figure I'm something of a mug. My neighbors apparently believe that there is something ethically wrong about helping me with my healthcare in the event that I can't pay for it, but that there is nothing wrong at all about me paying for their kids' schooling.

So, my proposal is this: It is ethically wrong to expect other people to pay for your kids' education. Did I ask you to breed? If you can't afford their education, then don't have them.

Let me review my property bill. 66.95% to the school district can go and I'm not going to pay the $22.71 for the zoo, either since I never go there nor the $50.23 for the county parks or the $77.40 for child services. You can strike off my bill the $154.80 to the Board of Developmental Disabilities and the $104.48 for the County Mental Health Board since no one in my family is benefiting from either of their services. I'm also not paying the $20.30 for the bond retirement since I didn't live here and couldn't vote for it.

So now that I have refused to pay taxes to entities that me and my family do not directly benefit from, I have reduced my tax bill by 86.68%. I can see the attraction of the principle of "It is unethical to make me pay for community services that I don't want and that don't directly benefit me." Tea Party, here I come!


Allan R. Bevere said...


A very well argued post.

PamBG said...

It's consistent!

Steve Hayes said...

But then you also need to take into account that those services increase the value of your property. Not that I think you would argue against it. But one can extend the argument in all sorts of ways.

PamBG said...


This is true.

I just don't understand why God approves of a collective responsibility for education but not for healthcare.

And if I were being totally mercenary, I could point out that other people's kids education is costing me far, far, far more than everyone buying health insurance (which isn't really even social responsibility but we DO live in America).

WomanistNTProf said...

Very good point Pam. In this economy people continue to have to pay property taxes that benefit schools and education even while property values go down. And many of the tea party people receive Medicaid or Medicare! Keep taking them on!

Pumice said...

As I person who would agree with your conservative friends on most issues I tend to agree with you on this, but probably not for the reasons you advance. I am a public school teacher and I tell the kids if I am ever elected King of California one of the first things I will do is get rid of compulsory education. I agree that you should not be forced to pay taxes to educate my children. I see you and raise you one, I also don't think the government should be able to coerce me into putting my children into government baby sitting. (Full disclosure, we home schooled our children. We lived in constant awareness that the police and a social worker could show up at our door at any time.)

If you want to run for King of your state and stop this madness, I would be glad to vote for you.

Grace and Peace.

PamBG said...

Pumice, I don't agree with you but I always admire consistency. If you are willing to risk your job for your views and you're willing to pay for your own kids' education then I applaud you.

What annoys me is paying $3800 / year for the community's children and then having people say "Thank you very much, it's your community responsibility to pay for our schools and by the way you are the downfall of American democracy for thinking that we might also have some collective responsibility for healthcare."

I don't want to run for King of my State. I want to live in a world where the ethos isn't "me first".

But thank you for your consistency and grace and peace to you. :-)