Death and taxes

  • Published
  • By Maj. Matthew Franke
  • 627th Air Base Group wing chaplain
They say the two things you can count on in this world are death and taxes. As a chaplain, I deal with death and its aftermath on a regular basis. As a citizen, I face April 15 every year just like you do.

We tend to dread both. Most people want to go to heaven, but aren't too fond of dying. Like you, I don't relish the idea of handing over part of my hard earned paycheck to anyone.

Tax day is only a month away! Rather than cringing at the date, why not let it be a reminder of the many blessings that come from our tax dollars? As an Airman, my family's income comes directly from other people's taxes. So do the facilities where I work and the costs of heating, lighting and maintaining them.

Government employee or not, so many things we take for granted are funded by our taxes. I drive to work on roads built, maintained and well lit at night. Police officers and firefighters are standing by to protect my family and home. An ambulance can arrive within minutes with trained medical teams to carry my loved ones to modern hospitals. My children attend schools that many in this world only dream about: In comfortable classrooms, with adequate books and supplies and taught by professional teachers doing a job few of us would envy. All are paid for by our tax dollars.

Complaining about taxes isn't new. Thousands of years ago, a popular rabbi was asked about paying taxes to an unpopular Roman government. His answer, to pay the emperor his due, was probably not well received by his followers. Yet, even he enjoyed the mobility of the Roman system of roads and the rule of law enforced by the occupying Roman soldiers.

People will gripe about taxes until the day they die. It's so easy to do! It's even easier to forget the benefits they bring. While I don't want to give up any more money than required, I'd rather pay my taxes than live in a nation without their benefits.