Monday, January 18, 2010

A Lifetime of Learning

"Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

My thoughts often turn to deceased Supreme Court justices around this time of year; there's something about that slightly perforated W2 that just tickles my fancy. It's like my own personalized bingo card.

Nobody really likes paying taxes, of course. There are those who are really enraged at the concept, though. I have a hard time relating to those feelings since I tend to think of all the cool stuff we get from paying those taxes: tanks, stamps, cheap celery, CAT scans for grandma, etc.

Taxes have also gotten more sophisticated in recent years. The federal government seems to be interested in some sort of widespread effort to help people and foster better living and common prosperity. I was trying to think of other, more sinister reasons for things like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, but I had trouble coming up with any. No doubt the liberally-biased media has brainwashed me..or perhaps they brainfilthed me.

Of course I jest. Clearly there are legitimate concerns with virtually all social programs. I'm not convinced that any of those concerns are reasons not to do them, but they could probably all use a tweak here or there.

Today, though, I feel like raising a glass to our national government for coming up with the Lifetime Learning Credit. The first couple of toasts will obviously be because I discovered that I will benefit from this wonderful credit this year (I already did my tax return!). The third toast, though, will be to the federal government for the title of the credit: The Lifetime Learning Credit.

Perhaps I'm reading into this too deeply, but I am proud to live in a country where education is valued so highly. From the Lifetime Learning Credit to Stafford Loans to Pell Grants, our government really wants you to go to college. Not only that, but they want to you keep learning for the entirety of your lifetime! This is a bold gesture and a lofty goal from a government that was once afraid of whiskey.

Many negative things can be said about the spending habits, partisan bickering and psuedo-imperialistic tendencies of our federal government. There are a lot of good things to be said, though, about a vision, created through painstaking, policy-making effort, of a people that are healthy, safe and smart as hell. God bless America?

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