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Chasing that elusive Dollar

Updated on August 22, 2013


Watching the unrest going on in Egypt on the News this morning caused me to ask some questions.  I wondered if that could ever happen in my Country, would the people arise and fight against the Government.  Why were they doing it?   The answers all point back to one thing, money.  

Taking the required class of Economics and Government in my senior year in high school it seems was wasted time and effort on the part of my educators.  Either that or I had the most boring teacher in the history of high school.  At this point in my life I wish she would have had some spark of excitement within her bones to have made that class worth staying awake through.  All I remember was “Test on Friday”.  That meant study from the book Thursday night, get the test out of the way 1st hour and I was done., pass with a solid D.  Nothing retained.  

How boring was your teacher?

I can remember my second grade teacher who wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom, so I ended up vomiting on my desk.  Mrs. Poole.  Yet I can’t remember my 12th grade Government teacher’s name.  How sad is that?  Was the study of our Government so boring?  Or was it my teacher?

If it’s the study then I can imagine why our young people of today don’t vote, or take an interest.  Why they don’t pay attention to what out law makers are doing on Capital Hill.  Where our money goes.  Half the time the only thing the News shows regarding our Country is our President taking vacations or golfing.  No wonder no one knows what is going on.  

Let's chase that dollar together!

Ever since then I have been chasing the dollar trying to figure out where it goes.  If you’ve ever had a few bucks in your pocket and wonder where it all goes to, how come it just don’t last these days, then come, join me.  Let’s chase that dollar together!

I always thought the phrase ‘The Value of a Dollar’ meant the value I put on it.  I suppose in part that is true.  But for the purpose of this article I will try to explain, in my way of understanding, just why a dollar is not worth a dollar. 

Taxes or Tacks?

First we have to understand taxes.  Not I’m not referring to tacks, the little pointy things we hang up pictures with.  Taxes.  This is money our Government needs to run.  They want their pay, first and foremost.  Then we have all those lovely offices that hired decorators come in to refurbish with really expensive furnishings, in those fancy buildings.  While those offices are being refurbished, those said officials must take vacations which of course are paid for by our taxes.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s move on.

Any Government program is paid for by taxes.  Budgets are implemented by our Government every so often, in this it is determined what our taxes pay for.  Since there are thousands of programs out there I have no intention of listing them all.  A couple you might be familiar with such as FAFSA, Food Stamps and Department of Transportation.  All of these are paid for by tax money.  Everything from Federal, State and Local Government are run on taxes.

You may be wondering how this is possible when you file your income taxes each year and receive part or all that you have paid in.  Where else are the taxes?  

Where does the money go?

Before you receive your paycheck it has been taxed multiple times.  Your employer has paid taxes on goods and services, the people he has bought said items from pay taxes on goods and services, and down the line it goes.  Let’s break it down just a little more.

For example we’ll use a simple wooden clothes dresser as our ending point. 

1. The land owner who grows the trees, pays taxes on the land.  When he sells the trees he pays taxes on his earnings.

2.  The one who purchased the trees pays sales tax on his purchase.  This person turns them into wooden planks.  He sells them, and has to pay tax on his earnings.

3.  The one who buys the planks pays sales tax on the planks.  He builds the dresser, then sells it and pays tax on his earnings.

4.  The store that buys the dresser pays sales tax on that purchase.  Then as it goes out the door the store owner pay taxes on his earnings.

5.  The final purchaser pays sales tax on the dresser.  

What might have started out as a few dollars is taxed so many times that in order for anyone to make a profit, the price has to be raised at each stop. 

The in-betweens

We must not forget all of the other things in between the growing of the tree to the finished dresser.  Each company that handles the wood has electricity which is taxed, saws to cut the wood, which were taxed at purchase and has a yearly ’use’ tax within the business.  The person who built the dresser has taxes they pay on their equipment along with their electricity tax.  The store who sells to the public has taxes they have to pay on their electric use as well as office equipment.  We must not forget the transportation for said product.  There is the road tax, the fuel tax and a surcharge on said deliveries.  Along the way each company has to pay insurance as well.  Which gives high cost to the end product. 

A brief run-down of our Government

In our Government we have several different ‘Parties’ the most prominent are Democratic and Republican.  The most basic of descriptions I can describe them with is this. 

Democratic - Tax and spend.  Which means they raise the taxes, and with this your pay, and spend money on Government programs.
Republican - Don’t tax, don’t spend.  Which to me means ‘Let the people take care of themselves.’

The problem with this, to me, is each term of office we either have Democratic or Republican.  If we have had Democratic in office the taxes will go up and the cost of things will rise, pay will sometimes go up during this time, but not always.  The people get angry and elect Republicans in office.  Then the price of things stay the same, along with wages.  Either way very few get to put money into savings accounts without putting a crunch on their own pockets.

The following elections come, things change and new people get into office and starts it all over again.  So if anything good was started, it has been stopped or canceled by the current Government.

Preamble to the Constitution

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Reverse Osmosis?

Is there no happy medium?  Can’t we just get a party that is for the people, 100% of the time?  Isn’t that what was the original plan?  Tax a little for our Security and safety, help a little for the welfare of our people.  Is there no way to go back?  To somehow reduce the taxes that are charged multiple times on each and every item?  Of this I have no answer.  Will the answer lie within our votes?  One can only hope.

For now I’ll tuck my dollar back into my pocket and hope that by reverse osmosis it will multiply by itself.

Yes, I know.

Let me explain, I do understand that our Democratic way of life MUST be run on taxes, everyone MUST pay their fair share. My observation is this; We are being taxed too much and not getting nearly enough back from our Government, by way of too many programs that are not "For the people".


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks Crewman! I like your thought. Doing my best to win here, but I don't see that happening for a long time!

    • Crewman6 profile image

      Crewman6 6 years ago

      You've written a great hub that I will be mulling over for a long time. I've always said it's the government's job to steal my money. I win when they steal less than last time.

      Thanks for the thoughts!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      @ Aris - No, not sad... Just practical! LOL

      @ Dave - Yes Dave, we did and it's looking like it's time once again... Hmmm, anyone for tea in the Boston Harbor??

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 6 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      1776 colonial USA I believe you yanks got fed up then and did something maybe its time for another something to take place.

    • Aris Budianto profile image

      Aris Budianto 6 years ago from Lying along the equator Country

      Come on !, susie, don't be sad, this is just like a vicious circle that never end, taxes..taxes and taxes.

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      Yep it has happened there ! Remember Boston !

      That's why you're over there in what we British historians like to refer to as the Colonies !

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Oh Merlin - I knew I could count on you to tell it to me straight!! LOL Just a little pocket money is all we ask for!! With enough left over to buy new socks cause ours has holes!!

      200+ years ago what started out for the good, has ended up being extremely profitable for those who wish to be in office. I believe it is called the 'Golden Fleece' program, whispered quietly...

      It would be so frightening if it happened here, yet... according to history it has...

      Thanks Merlin!! Glad you stopped by!

    • Merlin Fraser profile image

      Merlin Fraser 6 years ago from Cotswold Hills

      I think what we should do is to say to Hell with it and give all our money to the Government and just ask for pocket money...

      Over here our lot are just piling Tax on Tax, Slashing spending and telling it's all for our own good...

      We are supposed to have a Nation audit Office to tells us how and where all the money is going but they are about as much use as turning up with two men short !

      The bottom line is I don't think anyone has the slightest idea where the money goes.. nor do they care... It's not their money and they seem to think there's plenty more where that came from.

      Your question could what is happening in Egypt happen in the West.....

      The simple answer is Oh! Indeed Yes !

      Democracy is only a thin veil covering what we laughingly call civilization but the rule of Law can and will breakdown very quickly if Mob Rule takes hold. The worst part about it and I suppose the scariest bit is the sheer speed that it can happen.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Yes, I suppose this is true, that is if you file for tax exempt status. The paperwork involved is something to behold. Not only that, god forbid you should use something meant for your business, for personal use.

      For example (very simplified) I crochet, if I claimed my crochet hooks for my business, then I wanted to make something for personal use I'd either have to go out and buy a new one or file paperwork on the one for my business. Granted I might not get caught, but if you happen to do that, and you get audited, they find you guilty, then you are charged with tax evasion. It's just not worth the hassle of claiming 'tax exempt'.

      Many businesses do not claim 'tax exempt status' because of the paper work involved.

      If you're in it for 'non-profit' that's an entirely different subject.. Tax exempt status is something you want.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 6 years ago from USA

      Hi Susie,

      I'm pretty sure we didn't have the same teacher for high school government, but I found the material just as boring! It's really too bad.

      I agree that it seems that our goods and services are way over-taxed, but it's not accurate to say that everyone along the line from raw material to finished product pays sales tax. When I was in business making and selling crafts, I had a tax exempt status which exempted me from paying sales tax on materials and items meant for resale. The customer buying the finished product was the only one who paid sales tax. But everyone still did pay all of the real estate taxes, utilities taxes, fuel taxes and income taxes. It seems never-ending!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      hehehehe - oh my you are a riot!! yeah, my health... LMAO too funny!!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      Well, susie, you don't really have to worry about saving your money any more. No matter how much you save it will continue to be worth less as inflation and taxes will continue to rise and so will government spending. But what the hey, we still have our health! Cough, cough. :)

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      See, I knew there was a reason I couldn't remember her name!! She slept too!!

    • profile image

      sharon 6 years ago

      I had Mrs. Cole for Government. Seemed a total waste of time. Just movies & her sleeping...LOL

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Apostle Jack - You are so right!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

      Please forgive me, but I don't understand Greek. Honestly, I think there are too many big words that have too many different meanings that are used within our Government to say one thing. "Gimme your money"

      There are too many people with their hands out wanting the Gov't to 'give' or 'do' for them to end anything, ever. I believe entitlement is the new 'in' word. Too many people saying "I pay my taxes, I deserve it"...

      With this mentality we will continue to go in our downward spiral.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Apostle Jack profile image

      Apostle Jack 6 years ago from Atlanta Ga

      Sometimes its like chasing a ghost.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 6 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      The biggest share of tax payers' money is spent on supporting an insane financial system and on weapons. If you become self-sufficient you don't have to pay taxes but we need more education instead of manipulation to end consumerism.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan


    • sameerk profile image

      sameerk 6 years ago from India

      nice one , loved it