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Emily's list: Fair taxes edition
I'm going to guess that I'm not alone when I feel that taxes are unfair. I'm young and need the money. I stimulate the economy with my spending! I'll never get the Social Security I'm paying, so let me keep some tax money.
Then I stop and think about it. My taxes provide me with my local libraries, from which I borrow audiobooks for free. They pay for the police force and firefighters who keep our society orderly and safe. They keep the postal system running, as inefficient as it may be sometimes. They pay for our teachers and schools, and our city animal shelter. As much as I want to complain about paying my taxes (and accountant), it's really not that bad. We pay far lower individual taxes in the United States than in Europe. Heck, we can even file our taxes online and pay it with our credit cards!
I was interested to read on MSNBC that more than half of Americans -- 54 percent -- think their taxes are either fair or very fair in an Associated Press-GfK poll. However, in a question asking whether taxes should be increased to lower the federal deficit, only 29 percent said yes. Just over 60 percent of Americans prefer that government services be cut instead of taxes raised. It's not a shock that Americans under the age of 30 and over the age of 65 seemed to think that taxes were more fair than workers in their prime earning years. "Surprisingly, there was little difference in the perception of fairness across income levels," according to MSN.
I just found out that I'm getting an enormous refund this year. Initially I was thrilled, but then I realized that meant I had been overpaying when I could have really used that money each month. But that's not unusual; MSNBC says that last year, about 87 percent of individual returns got refunds, and those averaged $3,000. These numbers are very close to what they are seeing so far this year. If you have debt, getting a huge refund like this can be a major windfall and help you wipe out a large chunk of debt.
Please read on for my roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!
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