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Old 01-02-2012, 02:36 PM   #15
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When you combine state and federal taxes we are all paying close to 50% of our income to taxes. I dont know about you all but that is a lot of taxes paid by all.
The problem as I see it is that the politicians in charge of spending our money are spending it on pet projects not intended for their original purpose. In Calif where I live for example the people voted a themselves a tax increase years ago to maintain our roads however it quickly became a catch all and is now part of the states general fund. I see this as a problem throughout the country but especially in Ca where the elected, missuse the peoples Money.
If you think you are not paying enough taxes, when you fill out your tax returns this year, please add what you would like to pay in additional taxes.
And how many Governors do you have in prison right now? Come to Illinois....we'll show you how corruption really works.
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Old 01-02-2012, 02:53 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by GetOutDoors View Post

The education system won, and thus over time our roads will get worse.
But you'll have plenty of civil engineers to built roads someday. Education is also a necessary investment for an advanced society.

I don't know where that number "50%" of our income goes to taxes comes from. I think it is a number made up by politicians to sell their brand.

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Old 01-02-2012, 03:05 PM   #17
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After complaining about the interstate highway system since 2004 I do believe the system has been ever so slowly getting better. Last summer on a trip from VA to ME we found smooth sailing. I recently traveled from VA through TN, ARK, OK, TX, LA, MISS, AL and GA and found the roads much better. Last month I traveled from VA to SD and back and found them improved as well. While we may not know about the bridges, the roads seem to be getting a slow but steady "Work Over". They certainly needed it in the areas mentioned.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:10 PM   #18
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But you'll have plenty of civil engineers to built roads someday. Education is also a necessary investment for an advanced society.

I don't know where that number "50%" of our income goes to taxes comes from. I think it is a number made up by politicians to sell their brand.

Gene
I don't know about 50% either, but I think they include items which smell and feel like taxes but "aren't". If you add it up 50% ain't probably far off:

Fuel tax
FICA - HI
FICA - SS
Fed income
State income
Local income (for some)
Nat Gas and electric (taxes and fees)
Property tax
Personal property tax (for some)
sales tax (state, and local) Feds want some of this now too!
communication taxes and "fees"
Road and bridge tolls

I'm sure I am forgetting a lot of others.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:34 PM   #19
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After complaining about the interstate highway system since 2004 I do believe the system has been ever so slowly getting better. Last summer on a trip from VA to ME we found smooth sailing. I recently traveled from VA through TN, ARK, OK, TX, LA, MISS, AL and GA and found the roads much better. Last month I traveled from VA to SD and back and found them improved as well. While we may not know about the bridges, the roads seem to be getting a slow but steady "Work Over". They certainly needed it in the areas mentioned.
GREAT! I am glad to hear some good news here too. Thanks.

Sometimes I feel like we started our Airstream Dream too late - like all the roads are awash, the parks are being closed, services going down the drain, high gas prices and the whole bit. But then I realize that there's no sense thinking that way - - we just have to get the most we can out of what is left out there. It makes me ill to see the decrepit condition of the California parks, and the ever worsening condition of public resources in general. Vast numbers of California parks are just closing down. I expect the same will happen with Federal resources soon too. Oh well.
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:21 PM   #20
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The roads were better in the 60s and 70s. The cars were big and heavy and floated down the highway, it was great... Now the traffic is prolly 4 times as much. Semi trucks are far more heavier than they used to be, also 4x more of them too. Roads are getting pounded into the ground. Driving is more stressfull nowdays. Things not likely to improve much.
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:35 PM   #21
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Much worse. Our politicians strip money away from infrastructure projects to support things like wars abroad, then act like they're doing us a favor by cutting "fat" out of the budget. Erm, infrastructure is NOT fat. They're called arteries for a reason.

And they're not going to get better. I was amazed when I realized a year or two ago that they are only now starting to consider replacing the Bay Bridge near Annapolis, MD; if you're familiar with these bridges, you'll know exactly why I think that's amazing (note, one of the options is not to replace it at all, but to build a new bridge farther south to reduce some load). If you're not familiar with these bridges, but happen to be familiar with Charleston, SC, think of the old Cooper river bridges - the similarities are amazing. For those not familiar with either situation: imagine an old bridge that has three lanes of traffic and no shoulder. Then imagine a second, OLDER bridge that has two lanes of traffic and no shoulder. Oh, and these bridges are several miles long. The backups are legendary, and sorry to everyone in a 10 mile radius if someone has so much as a flat tire.

We have road designs that should have been repaired years ago; my favorite example is I-83 between the Maryland line and York, PA. They built the on-ramps with zero merge area - you just get dumped into traffic. Climbing hills, just after turns, and (my personal favorite) behind the crest of a hill so it's basically close your eyes and hope for the best. Pennsylvania's solution to this dangerous design? Raise the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph for most of that stretch.

Add in the idiot drivers...and, you know, I used to enjoy driving.
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:12 PM   #22
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But you'll have plenty of civil engineers to built roads someday. Education is also a necessary investment for an advanced society.


Gene
I think most reasonable people realize the role education plays in our society. Equally, we must also realize, like everything else in the world of mother nature, there must be a balance.

For example, if we tax anything and everything for the sake of education, then what jobs will be available for those engineers once they are educated? If we cannot afford to fix roads today, then we won't be able to afford to hire all those engineers to build new ones tomorrow.

... I wonder what kind of lawsuits would be filed if a bus load of students were killed as a result of poorly maintained roads?

I, as a tax payer, do not want stuck with that bill ...
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:08 PM   #23
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As a recent arrival in this continent, I don't have the history to relate whether the roads are worse than before. I can say, though, that thrashing down the I75 from Detroit to Orlando last summer, the state of that highway was generally pretty good. The exceptions were the whole of the run in Michigan and around Cincinnati, where the roads were potholed and patched and generally pretty crummy.

Europe isn't any better, where the roads can also be poorly maintained, this in an area where taxation, certainly on road usage and gas, is generally much higher than in the US. France has some good roads but they are generally the ones with the tolls, and I don't mean the odd buck or two; these tolls are in the hundreds of dollars on a long run.

Given everyone's dislike of taxation, the road maintenance budgets are unlikely to get any bigger without some major changes in thinking. Will that ever happen? Maybe, maybe not. Until then, we'll just have to ride the bumps and maybe drive a bit slower.
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:21 PM   #24
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My father, a WWII combat veteran once told me when I was a child, "Thank God we live in a country where we have the privelige to pay taxes...and thank God we have the right to pay not one penny more than we have to."

I want to pay taxes, I just want them appropriated and spent wisely and thriftily. Will somebody let me know when that happens?
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Old 01-03-2012, 01:42 PM   #25
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My father, a WWII combat veteran once told me when I was a child, "Thank God we live in a country where we have the privelige to pay taxes...and thank God we have the right to pay not one penny more than we have to."

I want to pay taxes, I just want them appropriated and spent wisely and thriftily. Will somebody let me know when that happens?
It will happen when people agree on what it should be spent on and who should be taxed. There has never been a time when full agreement has been reached, but after WWII there was a large consensus on taxes (aggressive progressive taxation; 91% on the highest bracket) and what to spend it on (infrastructure, social safety net, defense). It took two crises to achieve that—the Great Depression and the war (some will add a 3rd, the Cold War).

Maybe it will take another crisis. Many will be seriously hurt by that and that's a terrible cost to pay. Some will say debt is the crisis, but we had more debt proportionally after WWII and we thrived with higher taxes especially on higher incomes. Those high taxes paid off some debt proportionately and built the interstates. The civil rights era realigned politics. Civil liberties for everyone was a big plus, the development of ideologically rigid politics was a big negative. We now have oligarchs spending money to control politics to run the country—no nation thrives with such a system.

Even the mention of political history is so toxic to some, the mods may be upset by this post, but it is just history.

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Old 01-03-2012, 02:29 PM   #26
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It's also got to do with where you are

Up here in Canada, while it's true that lots of roads have deteriorated, in general they still seem pretty good, at least in my home province of Ontario.

When we drive to Québec, the next province, RIGHT at the border, there is a HUGE difference (and it's not a good difference).

We used to make the joke, "Welcome to Québec" when the car started pitching rocking and rolling, but that got old with the years.

ps: Gene, we had no income tax until WWI. How in heck did we get by? Of course, no cars made a difference...
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:55 PM   #27
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Gene, I'm wit ya. But the last time(s) we had big debt, we actually made something. We actually had a manufacturing base. We gotta start making stuff again and stuff that people really want. Apple is good but it's only a start. We need Apple like innovation all throughout the manufacturing sector.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:09 PM   #28
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I want to pay taxes, I just want them appropriated and spent wisely and thriftily. Will somebody let me know when that happens?
Maybe when it's possible to elect someone who isn't bought by big money interests?

Ah, politics.

We have an amazing amount of money in this country, more than enough to go around and give everyone lots of services and dare I say it "entitlements". The biggest problem is that the politicians and big corporations all want more than their share of pie. I don't mind when they're about 40-60% dishonest, as we're pretty much rich enough even for that, but they've been getting overly greedy the last half century or so, and the middle and lower classes are really starting to feel the pinch now.

We should be able to have good roads, which, honestly, for the most part we do. We should also be able to have education, which has been steadily getting worse. Big Money interests suck the entire system dry when they're allowed to do so.

Something as simple as the corn growing lobbies or the soybean growing lobbies cause backlash in our medical systems, because those lobbies have prevented science from widely informing our medical systems that the oils cause obesity, diabetes, cancer and other ailments. (Huge source of omega 6s, which we need, but not in the amounts those oils have.)

We've had the possible technology for electric cars for quite some time, but the oil lobbies have kept funds and research for development from being done. Imagine what our world would look like (and how much money we'd have from not being in wars and other such political machinations) if we didn't have interests in the middle east?

Anyway, politics aside, I regularly drive between Colorado and California, and out and about other places less often. The roads got considerably worse about 3 years ago, and now are slowly getting better. This time coming out of California (where I was born), I didn't feel like I had to take life and limb in hand going the speed limit on the roads, and many of the potholes I've noticed the last few years seem to be being repaired.

eta: this was on interstates, though. 101 still sucks.
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