President Trump has announced his intention to overhaul the tax code in a way that will give all taxpayers lower taxes. At the same time news reports cite the great shortage of funds for tax-supported agencies whose work is of great benefit to many. It is hard to understand how lower taxes will do anything except make the work of these agencies even harder.

This circumstance has led me to ask myself if I need a tax cut, and to answer that question I have looked at how I spend my income. To simplify matters I classified my expenses in two groups, groups that doubtless fit most wage earners. One group I call the ME group; it contains items related to me and my family such as food, shelter, and stuff. Stuff consists of everything that makes my personal life more enjoyable, like hi-fi, television, a car, and entertainment.

The other group, which I call the US group, is supported by taxes and contains things that we all hold in common. On the local scene examples in the US group are schools, fire and police protection, clean water, sewage disposal, and street and park maintenance; on the national scene, examples are national defense, homeland security, and the vast infrastructure such as highways, bridges, and the national parks.

Expenses for the ME group are under my direct control and are paid from my bank account. Those for the US group are paid from my taxes which have been collected by local government and the IRS.

It is clear that the support of the US group doesn't play as large a part in the average person's thinking as spending in the ME group does. After all, every dollar spent for the US group means one less for the ME group, and it is the contents of the latter that give all of us immediate pleasure. Nevertheless, the resources of the US group are very important to people.

Take school support, for example. Although Corvallis has been quite good in this matter compared to some districts, I've heard the anti argument couched in terms of "let those whose kids are now in school support them as I did when mine were there." This argument ignores the fact that our kids are a resource on which the future of our nation depends and that we all have a stake in providing for their education.

So here is my answer to the question of whether I need a tax cut: NO! And why is it no? Well, take the issue of stuff. I've been accumulating stuff for 70 years and my house is loaded with things I no longer use. In fact, I no longer buy the latest gadgetry and instead my wife and I are trying to get rid of things such as we did with a second car, which we donated to OPB. I'm sure many others are in this same position.

Understand, I am only advocating higher taxes for those who can manage with less of a contribution to their ME group, not for people who struggle to make ends meet.

And finally, to a friend of mine who said during the course of a discussion of this issue, "Of course I want to pay fewer taxes, who wouldn't?" Answer: me, him, and all others who no longer need to increase the contents of ME.

Kenneth Hedberg has been associated with the Chemistry Department at Oregon State University as a faculty member since January 1956 and is presently an emeritus professor there; he still has a small research program in the department. He graduated from OSU in 1942, when it was called Oregon State College.

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