Sunday, February 17, 2013

#48 / Taxing Ourselves

I have placed a picture of its cover in this posting, but I haven't yet read this book. It is probably worth reading. 

I am thinking today of "taxing" in another sense. We say we "tax" ourselves when we ask or demand much of ourselves. The Merriam Webster online dictionary puts the following definition fifth in its list: "Tax - to make onerous and rigorous demands on."

I am thinking we should be taxing ourselves more. Probably in both senses of the word. But we definitely should be asking more of ourselves than we currently ask. 

Why shouldn't we demand, for instance, that we eliminate all polluted areas within our national boundaries, and restore the damaged and degraded parts of our natural environment? 

The American Farmland Trust recently published an article bragging about how it is now involved in a "water quality trading program." This means that degraded water quality is accepted in some areas, on the basis that other areas are cleaned up. All fine and good as to the clean up side, but why should we not tax ourselves to the point that we simply eliminate the wetland and other areas that we have degraded? Period.

Deciding to do that would provide jobs for life for a lot of people. 

And maybe we should demand that we carry out other and similar improvement projects, aiming at improvements in the natural environment and in the human and "built" environment. We could restore roads, bridges, and build affordable housing, besides cleaning up all the messes we have made in the natural environment.

It is pretty clear we could accomplish all this if we were willing to tax ourselves more.

In both senses of the word.

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