Yes, We Should Pay Taxes

Let’s talk for a moment about the lack of responsibility some Americans feel toward paying their taxes. I read this morning an online comment that strongly inferred taxes should be voluntary….so as not to be “coerced” by the government into paying them.

There were people like that in the 1780s, too. They teach us a lesson as to the long-held folly of not wishing to pay taxes. Many at the time did not want to pay their share of the debt for the Revolutionary War, contending in some cases that a state had met the burden and should not need to contribute to another state not having the ability or inclination to meet their financial responsibility. Others did not want to pay for military preparedness. In short order, some were shunning the idea of paying for national improvements and even arguing over whether such improvements should be a national concern.

On April 8, 1789–three weeks before George Washington will be sworn into office for the first time–James Madison stood up in the House of Representatives and introduced a tax bill. It was the first bill ever introduced under the new form of government outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

The very first order of business, in the very first session of Congress, was a bill to make sure that the economy was placed on a more sure-footed path, and that manufacturing would be promoted. The means to do that were duties, and tariffs on a whole range of products from rum, beer, molasses, sugar cocoa, and coffee. There was a clear sense of the need for revenue, and while there was a lively debate about the taxes, the bill passed.

I could go through history making the case as to why taxes being levied and paid matter. From the Louisiana Purchase to Henry Clay and his American System, to Eisenhower and interstate highway, to JFK and moon trips, and now to the national war on fighting cancer. The same frame of mind has always existed about moving forward and marshaling the resources of a nation for the projects that enrich society, and aid in the lifting of its people.

I walk my talk, too. I advocated for a wheel tax in both Dane County and Madison, where I live. I pay both units of government for the car I own. I applaud elected officials who are honest about the need for more tax revenues. There are only so many ways that our local government can find the revenues which are required to make sure the needed services can be supplied. State legislative leaders may find glee in starving government funds, but at the local level, where the tire meets the road, we know it takes leadership to make government work. The idea that there is never to be any new tax hikes or ways to reap revenue is a most absurd and untenable position from which to govern.

Prime Minister Liz Truss Getting Just Desserts, Conservative Tax Cuts Prove Loony

I very much disagreed with the scraping and clawing with absurd tax schemes employed by Liz Truss so to have the small array of eligible Conservative Party voters elect her to 10 Downing Street. She cheapened herself and undermined the integrity of the office she sought. The financial markets have already registered their strong disapproval of her antics. Her radical economic agenda has met the resounding rebuke of both the markets and mature pols as the Labor Party is planning its future success. Truss is now not only the laughingstock of Britain but surely even more troubling is even being scorned by the new King.

Her own party members commenting on this week’s meeting, where she attempted to assuage them concerning her lack of political skills and economic reasoning, stated her performance was “painful,’ while other words used to describe the session included ‘awful’, ‘funereal’ and ‘brutal’.

Earlier this year I stood with Rishi Sunak in his bid to become the next prime minister of Britain.  In my post about his credentials for the job, I wrote “Add into the mix this person does not wish to fall into the consequences of a cheap theatrical tax cut pledge knowing such action will further harm the British economy.

Then came the news of King Charles greeting Truss and how many viewed that interchange across the nation.

Meetings between the monarch and the prime minister remain a closely-guarded secret. This means that anything that is caught on camera when King Charles and Liz Truss meet is watched closely – and the King’s choice of greeting to the PM when he hosted her at Buckingham Palace last night was, err, particularly interesting.

King Charles muttered ‘Dear oh dear’ as he met the PM late last night. In a video clip released by the Palace, taken at the beginning of their weekly audience, the PM is heard to say: ‘Your Majesty, great to see you again.’

Charles, smiling, replies: ‘Back again? Dear oh dear.’

It was so bad that I believe Sheldon would say, “Can I get you a hot beverage?”

Conservatives Forced To Pull Back Tax Cut Ploy, Rishi Sunak Gets To Smile And Say ‘Told You’

Well, well, well…….

Faced with a growing political rebellion after days of economic chaos, Britain’s truly not-ready-for-prime-time-prime minister of less than a month has reversed course and now says she is abandoning a signature plan to cut taxes for the country’s highest earners. You know, the same stew she was pushing during her cheesy campaign for the office when economists were saying her plans were just plain silly.  Her now dramatic reversal comes just hours after this weekend when Liz Truss was slinging rhetoric like hotcakes at breakfast for the hungry conservative hordes.   Her radical economic agenda has met the resounding rebuke of the markets and mature pols. She is a national fool. All in less than 30 days.

Earlier this year I stood with Rishi Sunak in his bid to become the next prime minister of Britain.  In my post about his credentials for the job, I wrote “Add into the mix this person does not wish to fall into the consequences of a cheap theatrical tax cut pledge knowing such action will further harm the British economy. He should know, being a former Chancellor of the Exchequer.’

He is a conservative grounded in reality, which means he speaks candidly to the fire-eaters in his party. He stated his path would be as a frank prime minister—a gentle (or not) reminder that what preceded was a continuous liar—and that he would not be one who offered “comforting fairy tales”.

Conservatives fall, like they often do, like a pack of raccoons for the one who promises things that glitter.  What is playing out across the pond is simply too precious not to watch play out. Who could have guessed at this outcome…..? Hmm…was it Sunak?

I wrote the following in July.

Sunak has the very life story that Tories require if they are to make inroads into the diverse British society.  Born to Indian parents who had left East Africa, attended excellent schools, and rose to a high position in the government showcases the fact all are welcome in the nation.  And can lead the country.

Conservative leadership need not be grounded in the harsh racism and stale models of the past.

We see, again, what happens when they do.

City Council Vote Tuesday On New Recycling Fee For Madison Homeowners, WORT Radio Reports, Interviewed This Blogger

Last week the City Finance Committee approved imposing a new fee (a.k.a. tax) on recycling.  The matter will now go before the full City Council Tuesday, April 19th.

The annual $50.00 fee should not need to be imposed, as the reason we pay property taxes is for basic city services. For me it is the principal of this matter, and not the fee amount.

This new fee has not even been enacted and council members, such as tax sponsor Alder Furman, are suggesting more new taxes to come so as to have unlimited sources of new revenue, (unlike your income).   “This will only get worse,” he said, saying the 2023 budget will need to be even more clever with how it addresses budget gaps. 

During the finance committee debate, the supporters/city staff said that the new fee has to be a flat fee per property, not number of bins, and with no opt out; or, otherwise, the city would be encouraging people not to recycle. 

Given that Mayor Rhodes-Conway made the unprecedented move of replying to constituent emails to defend her recycling tax, she must be concerned that city residents can defeat this.  Already, three of the six alders who co-sponsored her recycling tax have withdrawn their names as co-sponsors!!  In other words, even if Madison taxpayers have already done so, please contact your alder and all the council to express your opposition. 

WORT news reported on this recycling fee and asked for an interview. The story starts at about the 14-minute mark. I provided the balance about the role of property taxes and basic services. I find it interesting that the report did not entertain one idea or foster a viewpoint about cutting city government and programming.   Just taxing more.

Click on the link below, then click the audio archive for Wednesday, April 13th. (My gain should have been higher on the soundboard as it sounds like I am a low talker.)

I must admit when the mayor talked about ‘putting on thinking caps’ in this news report I did gasp upon hearing it. I swear that those words from an adult outside of a first grade class is remarkable. But her term in office falls under the snarky-phrased term remarkable, too.

My bottom line is too many at the city level have cast this debate about recyling instead of the way certain taxes are to pay for certain projects in a city. With news media playing to the same tune as the ones promoting this fee there is no doubt the measure will pass Tuesday night.

The consequences for alders at election time next year, well, that is a promise many will carry until balloting in the spring elections.

And so it goes.

Madison Citizens Weigh In On New Curbside Recycling Fee

Above the fold on the front page of the Wisconsin State Journal readers were alerted to a newly proposed fee for their curbside recycling pickup. Over the past two weeks, I have been pressing against this issue, not because of the estimated cost of $50.00 per year for homeowners, but because basic city services should already be paid for by property taxes.

This morning the newspaper explained what has been chatted about over neighborhood fences and listserves around the city. Some of those voices are found in this post.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and three council members proposed the ordinance adding the charge, recommended in the 2022 budget approved by the council in November.

The Finance Committee voted 4-1 with one member absent to endorse the fee, estimated at about $4.10 per month, or about $50 annually per household. The charge would generate about $1.5 million in its first half year for the city’s $360.3 million operating budget. In its first full year, in 2023, it is estimated to generate $3 million.

Some have labeled the idea as regressive taxation but one city resident I heard from simply nailed it best by calling the “Resource Recovery Special Charge” as being Orwellian-named.

The mayor and alders should not need to be told that the basics of city government, be it trash, fire, police, and street maintenance, are considered to be covered by our tax payments. No add-on fees for the basics!  Before we build public markets and do things that are perhaps nice to have, we need to make sure that the basics of city living are financed and ready to operate.

So, what’s next?  Charging for trash pick-up?  After all, not everyone gets trash pick-up (e.g., commercial properties, apartment buildings).  Once upon a time, these charges for the public good were paid for by tax dollars.

I have received a number of comments in emails about this matter, especially after I posted twice on Next Door. There is a lively crowd of residents on that website who seemed genuinely interested in more information about this new fee. Such fees, it should be noted, are politically useful so those in local government can then claim they have kept property taxes lower.

But the emails which landed in my box–most of which also were sent by the writers to the Finance Committee or elected officials, and are now available to the public, did not mince any words with how they felt. I offer three of them to underscore the energy this fee has generated.

From Rick Soletski , who made a point to city alders in his letter that was echoed by the front page of the newspaper story today.

If the recycling program is not a basic service, but a nicety, let us know.  Release the mandatory requirement and let those willing to pay another tax keep their green bins and participate and be billed

If it is a basic service and a requirement to recycle, then it should be covered by our already high property taxes. By the way, my household recycles religiously. 

Finally, you know very well that this is a shell game.  When you raise this tax, you won’t lower our other taxes.  It will backfill other city spending.   Much like you did with the wheel tax when the council and mayor did not want to do the hard work to make revenues balance spending.  Instead, raise a new tax dedicated to transportation, and take that money to spend on something else. 

Please note the line beneath the headline about budget gap filling.

Dan Young wrote numerous letters, but this one was sent to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway who is the lead sponsor of the fee, and pressed the issue of basic services.

Your argument for the tax, as stated in the proposal is that, “Over time, the City’s costs to operate its recycling program, including the costs of collecting, sorting and recycling waste, have increased.  It is reasonable that all or a portion of the costs incurred to provide this service be recovered from those using the service, rather than all taxpayers in the City.”   Yes, no doubt the costs have increased.   As we know, the cost of everything has been increasing, including OUR PROPERTY TAXES.   And, property tax payers expect and should get basic services for those increasing property taxes and not be charged an additional tax.   Basic services serve the common good, as do our schools, when they are not otherwise failing.   

Tracy Doreen Dietzel wrote the Finance Committee about her reasons for opposing the new fee, but strongly argued for the need to have a recycling program that is structured with more community input.

I have lived in Madison long enough to pay property taxes in total over the years an amount more than double the cost of what I paid for my house. I have told people for many years that while we have some of the highest taxes in the country, at least our leaders have had the wisdom to include basic services without added fees. Perhaps you are needing some counsel from citizens to not lose that wisdom.

Please consider that in adding fees without taking the opportunity to engage in rigorous discussion with community, you may well miss more effective alternatives to this proposal.

People on fixed incomes struggling to remain in their beloved community, people who reuse, upcycle and do not buy single use plastics or who do not create waste. Will they pay the same as someone who clogs up recycling with wishcycling?

The placement of the news story about the new fee on the front page will allow for a greater conversation in our city about this matter. It will now make it far harder for alders to not issue a statement about the issue or send glib comments to their constituents. I suspect all of a sudden the city is now paying attention.

And so it goes.

Madison’s Proposed Recycling Tax Must Be Rejected By Alders

As Barney Fife would say ‘We need to nip it. Nip it in the bud’.

From the early reaction to a truly up-side-down proposal for Madison to harvest more from taxpayers via a newly proposed recycling tax, it would seem that nipping is in the air as spring begins.

Some have labeled the idea as regressive taxation but one city resident I heard from simply nailed it best by calling the “Resource Recovery Special Charge” as being Orwellian-named. Last week this matter was introduced at the council meeting.

There is no doubt that the ordinance title gives no clue about the actual change being sought.  What is being asked of taxpayers, however, who reside in residential properties is an additional fee to get curbside recycling services. The intent is that Madison will set a fee that will reimburse the local government for the costs of recycling.  The anticipated total recovery is $3M for 2023 ($1.5M for 2022).

The rationale from the city government is that “Over time, the City’s costs to operate its recycling program, including the costs of collecting, sorting and recycling waste, have increased.  It is reasonable that all or a portion of the costs incurred to provide this service be recovered from those using the service, rather than all taxpayers in the City.”

This new proposed fee is a very bad idea. Even at a time when the city might be searching for more revenue.  At first glance, it seems to me people will opt to place their recyclable material into the trash and that will undercut the environmental goals that our city government strives to implement.  

The mayor and alders should not need to be told that the basics of city government, be it trash, fire, police, and street maintenance, are considered to be covered by our tax payments. No add-on fees for the basics!  Before we build public markets and do things that are perhaps nice to have, we need to make sure that the basics of city living are financed and ready to operate.

So, what’s next?  Charging for trash pick-up?  After all, not everyone gets trash pick-up (e.g., commercial properties, apartment buildings).  Once upon a time, these charges for the public good were paid for by tax dollars.

If the mayor needs to have more cash she needs to do like everyone else during the pandemic.  Cut here and there and come up with the funds.  But do not seek it from the city residents who already are knowing they have paid for the city services with their property taxes. 

As city residents are being made aware of this issue it becomes more clear as to why the mayor and alders wanted to hide this nugget from the public.  If it is such a swinging idea why has no one pushing for it contacted the local reporters to write up an article? Let the whole city know what a brilliant idea has been hatched. Why hide from the wild adulation which would surely follow!


My readers have reached out and they sound much akin to this email I received at Caffeinated Politics.

Yes, no doubt the costs have increased, BUT SO HAVE PROPERTY TAXES THAT PAY FOR THOSE COSTS.  Will fees for collecting your trash, leaves, and brush be next?  Or, to use the library?  Or, to send your child to school?

So what do you do about this truly bad idea?

I ask that you please contact the Mayor, 266-4611, and your alderperson, 266-4071, and oppose their preposterous recycling tax. And, alert your friends and family in Madison. 

The Mayor’s email is — or use this form to contact the Mayor: Contact the Mayor | Mayor’s Office, City of Madison, Wisconsin 

You can use this website to contact your Alderperson Contact – Common Council – City of Madison, Wisconsin  Or, if you want to look up who your Alder is and send a direct email address, use this link:  Find Alder by Address – Common Council – City of Madison, Wisconsin

If Barney Fife’s idea of nipping does not work to remove this proposal we might ponder what Lyndon Baines Johnson would recommend as a political tool. He was a rancher…..

And so it goes.

Inflation Not Issue With Democrats’ Job And Revenue Generating Proposals

The news has lately been filled with stories about price increases from gasoline to beef. But just as many stories have been reported that airlines are selling tickets galore and sales are percolating at stores. This morning the lead story above the fold in The Wall Street Journal was titled Shoppers Increase Spending, Despite Inflation.

U.S. consumers withstood rising inflation to power a burst of shopping ahead of the holiday season, with big retailers reporting higher sales and expectations for a solid finish to the year.

Sales at U.S. retail stores, online sellers, and restaurants rose in October by a seasonally adjusted 1.7% from the previous month, the Commerce Department said.

While it is possible to track the reasons for inflation since the pandemic, the supply chain disruptions, and the unemployment numbers or as it has also been termed the “mass resignations’, it must be noted why we must not throw away the chance to advance our society with policies that have been long sought. We need to understand that these proposed initiatives are not inflation-inducing.

When it comes to the Build Back Better legislation some partisans who desire to undermine President Biden rather than listen to the strong support from the public, as polls show, have used the fear of inflation as their rhetorical tool. But the facts and logic are not on their side.

This week at the signing of the massive and much-needed infrastructure bill Republican Senator Rob Portman spoke words that did not make as much news coverage as they warranted. His message was clear. Investing in jobs and revenue-generating ideas is a path towards a strong US economy.

“It represents a long-term investment in our nation’s hard infrastructure assets that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, and make us more efficient, more productive and more competitive against other countries like China. Importantly, economists agree that by investing over time in hard assets, it adds to the supply side of the economy, and will be counter-inflationary at a time of rising inflation. And it does all of this without raising taxes on the American economy as we are coming out of the pandemic. In contrast, the partisan tax and spend Build Back Better plan will increase inflation through massive stimulus spending and hurt the economy through massive tax increases.

While it is easy to locate the latest screed from the likes of GOP Senators Ted Cruz or Ron Johnson it obviously makes far more sense to listen to the words of economists and learned individuals. Such as Mark Zandi who for years has been read and heard in this nation about economic matters. He is now the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics.

The hair-on-fire discourse over high inflation is understandable, but it’s overdone. … My inflation outlook could be Pollyannish, but only if inflation expectations — what investors, businesses, consumers and economists think inflation will be in the future — rise. If there is a widespread view that inflation will remain high, workers will demand higher wages to compensate and businesses will ante up, believing they can pass along their higher costs to their customers. This vicious wage-price spiral was behind the persistently high inflation we suffered 30 years ago. But there is no evidence that this is happening today.

All of this refutes the notion that the government spending and tax breaks to support the economy through the pandemic, including the American Rescue Plan this past March, are somehow behind the higher inflation. These factors certainly gave a boost to demand last spring, but that faded when the Delta variant gained momentum this fall. There is also no good way to connect the dots between the Build Back Better agenda, which is currently being debated in Congress, and higher inflation. The legislation provides support for public infrastructure and various social programs, and longer term, it is designed to lift the economy’s growth potential, which will ease inflationary pressures.

The fact is that inflation fears are being used by Republicans to confuse a certain segment of the nation and undermine the sitting president. They are not interested in, or understanding of the popular support for housing programs, climate-change policies, and a plethora of other matters contained in the Build Back Better legislation.

Fear may get them a headline now, but the nation is deserving of progress that history will long record.

And so it goes.

Republican States Greatly Benefiting From Biden’s Child Tax Credits

If you build it they will come.

Even if the building is done with one team doing all the work, while the other team seeks to block all efforts.

That applies to conservative Republicans who worked feverishly to block congressional efforts to construct the child tax credit.

But once the heavy lifting was done, and the measure signed into law by President Biden, we find that the states in the nation which are most benefiting from it are those which voted for Donald Trump in 2020.

The tax credit can be summed up with one word.


As part of a COVID relief package that Congress passed in March, qualified families began receiving monthly payments from the federal government in July ranging from $300 for children under age 6 and $250 for children under age 18.

The current expanded tax credit has proven a policy favorite across the land. Regardless of party.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll found the credit supported by 59% of U.S. adults including 75% of people who identified themselves as Democrats and 41% of people who identified as Republicans.

The top 10 states by average monthly child tax credit payments in August — all from the West and Midwest — were: Utah, Idaho, South Dakota, Alaska, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana, with monthly payments ranging from $515 to $456 in August.  Again, all states that voted for Trump.

The conservative state of Utah, which is also the nation’s youngest state home to large families, averaged the highest monthly payment of all at $515.

With the broad support for the policy there is now a very concerted effort underway to extend the credit which is part of the President’s $3.5 trillion spending package.

So while the GOP will not give Biden credit for darn near anything they will gladly reap the cash rewards for the hard work his administration has done to create stronger families in the nation.

The reason Democrats can make the claim for strengthening the foundation of families is based on data. Researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy are estimating that Biden’s new credit will cut childhood poverty by 45%. The IRS has estimated that 39 million families and 65 million children will benefit under this plan.

In the world of blue-collar politics, we call this a middle-class tax cut.

One that even Republicans have embraced.

And so it goes.