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Last Wednesday, nonpartisan "tea parties" were held all over the country as an opposition to President Barack Obama's proposition to spread the wealth around. As a senior in high school, I returned Thursday prepared to discuss the events with my characteristically right-winged economics class.
I wasn't surprised when my classmates, who don't yet have to pay taxes, began complaining about the American tax burden immediately upon entering our classroom. What did come as a surprise was my teacher's vehement support of their protest.
My teacher put a graphic from our textbook on the projector titled "The Central Government Tax Revenue as a Percent of GDP." Not surprisingly, the United States was in the top five countries whose greatest percentage of GDP comes from tax revenue. The countries at the bottom of the list were Indonesia, Mexico and India.
The consensus of my class was that if India could get by with only 10 percent of GDP being made up by taxes, why couldn't America? After all, we are a far more developed country.
My answer was in their question: Our standard of living is extremely high, especially in comparison to that of developing countries such as Mexico and India. Perhaps that's why so many people from across the globe work so hard to become American citizens.
I understand that no one looks forward to April 15, but we are looking at the glass half empty. In America, all of our citizens are entitled to a free education. We have programs established to prevent our people from ever going hungry or being denied medical care.
In India, people are robbed for having the luxury of toilet paper. When was the last time you visited the restroom and thought about how thankful you were to have something as simple as toilet tissue? Probably not in your recent memory.
How about the fact that every night, you go to bed without worrying if your home is going to be invaded by anti-government radicals? According to my economics textbook, as of the year 2002, the United States spent $309 billion on national defense so that our families can sleep soundly every night, while countries like Mexico are plagued by radical gangs and drug trafficking.
Next April, I'm going to have to file my taxes for the first time, and I'm extremely proud to do so. It is an honor and a privilege to contribute to the well-being of this country that I so love. I hope in time more of my fellow Americans will come to see the glass half full.
Tea party tax protesters, where have you been all this time?
To those of you who participated in last Wednesday's tea party, I truly thank you for being so concerned with the state of our country's fiscal well-being. Just one question: Where have you been the last eight years?
Ray McRae will be missed
Gainesville and its residents have lost its most valuable citizen and the one most devoted to the community and his friends in Ray McRae. He shall be missed by all his multitude of friends and loved ones.