The Greatest Crime

Too many of my fellow Americans
(and they are mostly fellows)
seem to hold to this bizarre notion
that taxes are stealing, and I understand
how they feel
I get it
I get their misperception and would like
to help them see the situation
more clearly
not as theft, per se, but rather
as rent.

There aren’t many who’d say
a landlord is stealing
by collecting money from a tenant
for allowing them to live in his home,
so how about putting up some cash
to live in the country
(the home to all us citizens)
especially when it’s the country you profess to love
so much,
the one you call the greatest ever
in the whole history of the world?
(you know, you’re damn lucky there’s
no hyperbole tax!)
and it would seem
fair that the more you use this country
the more you might pay for that use,
but what would be a good indicator
of heavy use? Maybe a sensible measurement
would be
wealth accumulation.

I know the billionaires feel
they have a right to keep
their hard-earned money, and maybe
in a fanciful utopia of plenty
they’d be right, but it is obvious here,
in the world we actually have,
that it cannot work out like that
we can’t all be billionaires
we can’t all be the CEO of Exxon
of AT&T, of Honeywell
there simply isn’t, if you’ll pardon
the expression
not enough honey in that well
to go around.

Put bluntly, if the actions of multi-
national corporations and billion
dollar asset holders were universalized
we’d be living on a Hell planet,
completely depleted of resources,
stripped clean of life
like all the caramel off a rotten apple
so those who have more,
who use the country to their personal best advantage
in ways not feasibly possible for everyone,
those people, they pay more into it
they pay a higher rent to their
national landlord (we the people)
for their numerous homes
for their real estate holdings
for their private polluting jets
for their dozens of automobiles and yachts
and oil wells and privately owned lakes
and hunting grounds and…

Well, I could go on, but I hope
that by now
those of you who firmly believe
taxes are stealing
are starting to get it,
to see
that it isn’t taxes
that are stealing
but the selfish with-holding of taxes
that is the greatest crime.

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