Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Little Head-Rant

Last weekend I was in Rome, as usual, and while I was on the bus I heard a very strange noise that immediately caught my attention.

“…I mean you have to understand, 50% of people don’t pay any taxes! I mean I pay my taxes, you know? But 50% don’t… I mean people want everything to be free, but someone has to pay for it, you know?”

Quiet kids! It is the mating call of a very, very rare species indeed, it’s a Republican outside his own country! The poor English-speaking Italian he was yammering to was nodding his head politely, clearly not well informed in US politics (and why should he be) and taking this man’s word for it. I was incensed, as I always am in the face of blatant misinformation, and went off on an in-my-head-rant aimed at his fat head.

Actually, just under 50% of people in the United States don’t pay federal income taxes, but that’s not the only form of taxes that exist and it is blatantly dishonest to pretend that it is. Those people too poor to pay federal income taxes still pay sales tax, payroll tax, so don’t pretend like they are too lazy to contribute to society. You’re talking about students and people that are poor, how about the multimillion dollar churches that don’t pay a cent in taxes?

And don’t you come to this country whining about it being inconceivable to be able to sustain what I can only assume you mean free health care. We have a public health care system, and for all its problems we would never choose to live without it. The mere presence of a public health care system helps keep down the costs of the private sector as well as ensuring that the private sector offers a more speedy and efficient service, or else people would just rely on the public one and the private companies would go out of business. Instead, you guys have allowed monopolies to form causing the US to have one of the worst health care systems of the Western World, indicated by your low life expectancyrates, high infant mortality rates, and overall crap efficiency despite how much you spend on health care per capita. But what do you care, right? Who gives a crap about children dying as a result of a broken health care system. It’s just poor people, disproportionately minorities, right? Nothing to do with you, it doesn’t affect you. That kid should have though twice before being born poor. It’s not like its mother couldn’t get an abortion if she couldn’t afford to have a child right? Oh wait, let me guess, you’re one of those people that would just as soon not allow that woman have the right to terminate her pregnancy. “Life” is only important to you before it becomes an actual person right? It’s shameful, pathetic and painfully obtuse.

OK so I took a few assumptions regarding his positions there, but there are enough people in the US that do hold the positions I was alluding to that I felt justified in my head-rant. It all took about 3 minutes of me probably giving him a dirty look, but he didn’t notice me and got off at the next stop. I’m not sure whether it was better or worse that I wasn’t standing right next to him and thus blurting this all out to his face, since where I was sitting I would have had to climb over a lady and cross the bus to rant at him, which seemed excessively agro to me.

What do you think? In the interest of setting the poor soul he was yakking to straight (despite the fact I’m sure he didn’t give a crap about the US’s tax problems), would you have crossed the bus? Would you even have said anything if you were standing right next to him?

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