Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nobody wants to pay taxes, but they’ll also complain about lack of services

There’s a scene in the 1995 film “My Family” in which actor Jimmy Smits’ character marries a woman from El Salvador to bolster her efforts to avoid deportation, then tries to dismiss his parents’ disapproval of such cynical behavior against the sacred institution of marriage by sarcastically saying, “I’m a god---n revolutionary.”
Who'd have thought political statement being made?

I can’t help but think the same sarcasm applies to many of the people who these days are getting offended over taxes – particularly the one that is drawing the national attention to Chicago in the form of the pop tax.

JUST ON TUESDAY the Chicago Tribune reported about one of the latest lawsuits filed in Cook County Circuit Court. There’s a man from suburban Schaumburg who’s upset that when he went to his local Walgreens store to purchase bottled sparkling water, he was hit with the tax.

He argues the packaging clearly indicates the water is unsweetened, while the so-called pop tax applies to sweetened beverages.

The man who filed his lawsuit last week said he wants a jury trial (probably because he wants a court ruling based in public sentiment rather than the technicalities of the law) and class-action status, which would allow for other people who have objections to the Cook County pop tax to pile on.

Why have one lone person suing someone over the penny per ounce fee the county wants to charge on pop and other sweetened beverages if you can have many?

THIS IS ABOUT people wishing to make a stink over an issue which basically amounts to them feeling a bit cheap and not wanting to pay an additional cost every time they buy their 2-liter bottle of pop (which can come to about $0.65 more).

In the case of Walgreens, the Tribune reports that the company admits it screwed up when coding the products it sells – which means that when the cashier swipes the water bottles at the register, it comes up with the pop tax added on even though it’s not supposed to.

And since it’s programmed to do that, the cashier has no authority, or ability, to take it off. Walgreens officials say they’re working to fix the situation. Which is about all we should expect to happen.
PRECKWINKLE: Arousing cheapskate anger?

I think the people who are hoping to go after Walgreens as a way of attacking the pop tax itself are just more interested in hearing themselves yell and scream. Of course, they’ll scream even louder whenever government fails to provide the services they expect as part of their life’s routines.

THEY’RE BEING ‘REVOLUTIONARIES’ against the issue of about 20 cents being added on to the cost of a single-serving sized plastic pop bottle. All of which is meant to help balance out the Cook County government budget.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been making an effort for the past year or so to reduce the amount of carbonated beverages I consume (I enjoy an occasional Coca-Cola too much to totally give up the habit, but it certainly doesn’t have to be a daily purchase), but this particular pop tax just strikes me as being yet another increase in the cost of daily life. Nothing is as cheap as it used to be when I was younger.

Yet some people are determined to carry out this petty fee and their disagreement to an extreme. Maybe it’s because the more serious taxes are too complex for them to go after.

Similar to how some Chicago residents get all worked up over being charged 7 cents for the cost of a plastic bag whenever they buy something.

PERSONALLY, I VIEW that fee as a cost of convenience for not having to carry my own bags to the store. Although for those who have their own canvas totes or whatnot to bring with them when they shop, more power to them!

Yes, I’m aware of the new poll showing 87 percent of those questioned hate the pop tax. Then again, how many people are going to do anything about it? This is one tax that gradually is going to become a part of the daily routine – no matter how much some retail groups try to challenge it in court and how petty Cook County gets with their counter-lawsuits against them.

Personally, I’d feel like a phony revolutionary if I claimed I was opposed to either of these taxes (pop or plastic bags) on some high-minded principle involving the legitimacy of taxation.

It would be more honest if the people who are complaining were to just come out and tell the truth – they’re feeling cheap!


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