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Art & Culture

various essays on, well, art and culture

Bookbinding & Conservation

lessons learned from this profession


ok, I'm not the guy from SNL,
but I still have a sense of humor

'Jim Downey' Stories

mostly true stories from my

Personal Essays

more "it's all about me"


Bush's Open Invitation to Bin Laden
Deserving Better
A Taxing Question
Three Things
Real Americans
Republicans for Voldemort
Please, Colin
Composite Bullets


observations on the human condition


take a trip with me

23 February 2005

A Taxing Question

    "Taxes are the price we pay for civilization."       Oliver Wendell Holmes

My buddy, Steve, who won $100k on Who Wants to be a Millionaire (see my piece on the show here), got into a discussion about the show and the fact that he'd have to pay a purported 43% of his winnings to the IRS.  Someone asked him what questions the government answered for their 43%.  I thought his response was perfect, and with his permission post it here:

What questions did the government answer for their 43%?  Directly, obviously, none, but . . .

Tax money taught me how to read.  Tax money bought the book Tom Edison, Young Inventor in the Hitchcock Elementary School Library in Galesburg, Illinois.

Tax money paid the salary of my eighth grade music teacher (whose name I have forgotten), who introduced me to opera, specifically Aida, and mentioned that it was written to commemorate the opening of the Suez Canal.

Tax money funded Michigan State University, where my father pursued his graduate education in physics and astronomy, which allowed him to answer the question about aphelion.

Tax money paid the salary of Hal Devore, my eleventh grade history teacher, who taught me about the Depression, FDR, and the Bank Holiday.

I am far better off than I was on November 4 (the day before taping).  But it is only because of the money that society has invested in me.

And if you think that this former teacher is too focused on education, I would mention that I enjoyed driving to New York on the Interstate Highway system.

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all work © James T. Downey, 1993-2006
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