13 September, 2008

Taxes make a difference in lives.

I believe in paying taxes and I hope you do too. Here's why:

Samuel is allowed to ride his bike around our block. He doesn't do this anymore now since we took the training wheels off of his bike, but when he did, we asked him to ring his bell when he came by the house. We knew about how long it should take for him to complete a circuit, so this helped us know he was okay without having to just sit and watch and it allowed for a certain amount of independence.

The last Saturday in June 2006 (Samuel was 13), we finally noticed that he was gone for a longer while without checking in. First we walked around the block to see if
we would meet up with him. When we didn’t see him we got in the car and drove around the neighborhood looking for him.

We belong to a cabana club so we went by there, which is almost a mile away. He wasn't there. We told some friends who were there that if they saw him to grab him and hold him, then call us. We drove around our neighborhood a bit more. A friend that had been at the pool dropped that and went in his car searching our neighborhood and called his son to get on his bike and do the same. After driving around for about 20 minutes I went home and called 911 while my wife continued to drive around.

While on the phone with 911 and giving them the pertinent details, including that he has Down Syndrome, not a minute later a San Jose Police Department (SJPD) helicopter started prowling around over-head. The 911 operator told us that this chopper was looking for our son. I had been getting upset at the possibilities. The chopper made it all too real and the emotions took over; my tears began to flow. I held it together as best I could in talking with the 911 operator, but it was not easy.

A few minutes later a patrol car pulled up in front of our house. The officer in that car took over from the 911 operator. We told him that Samuel was wearing his bike helmet that had black and white checkerboard with flames at the front, a bright blue tee-shirt, and off-white shorts, riding his yellow bike with training wheels. The officer said that he was the site commander. Other patrol cars came by, perhaps two or three, and took direct orders from the site commander. In all, based on what our neighbors and friends who had also taken up the search in their cars said, more than several patrol cars were engaged in the search.

We were on the phone with friends that were searching constantly, but I stayed planted at home now while my wife continued to drive around, gradually increasing the perimeter of where she was driving. Needless to say, it was very difficult emotionally. He had never done this and in cases where he had wandered some, we had found him quickly. This was out of the ordinary and definitely scary.

After a while one of our friends called from the pool. Samuel had been riding by on his bike. One of the folks from the pool that knows him, saw him riding by and managed to get him to stop and come into the pool area. He didn't want to and told her that he needed to get home. She said that he was hot, sweaty, without his shirt, and looking a bit disoriented. It was a 100+ degrees that day and he did not have water with him. Our friends called us from the pool to let us know that he was there and that they were giving him fluids.

We told the police he had turned up at the pool. They asked if it would be better for his mother bring him home or them. We said no, we want the police to bring him home, hoping that he would get the message: kid, you scared the snot out of us!

The site commander sent a patrol car to get him and his bike. As he rolled up, sitting in the perp seat (back seat), he was waving out of the window to us, seeming to be excited at the special treatment. As he exited the car, we hugged him, told him we loved him, hugged and kissed him, cried, and then began the effort to explain to him how scared we were.

He had ridden about a mile and a half away to see a young lady at our gym that he liked to flirt with. My wife had stopped by in the process and learned that he had stopped, and then moved on. He was in his community and he was looking to touch someone he knew where he knew they should be, just wanting to be like other kids his age. All told, it was a happy ending.

So what does this have to do with taxes? Everything. Have you ever wondered how much it costs to fuel a chopper? Train the pilot? What does it cost to put four to ten police cars on the street for an hour, just driving around? The salaries of all those cops and the dispatchers? The equipment they needed to do all of that efficiently? I sure can't guess.

It is clear to me that our taxes are needed and I have never had a problem paying my share. The services our taxes provide every day are real and are all possible because of you, me, and corporations.

I think I pay not only my fair share, but likely a bit unfairly more than my share. I certainly don't think that the taxes being paid by big oil companies is commensurate with the record profits we keep seeing reported. The current administration has given corporations huge tax cuts in the hopes that this will trickle down and provide more jobs and investment in our communities. I don't think we can say we've seen that fruit sprout, do you? Not when it can be farmed out to countries where labor is only pennies on the hour. McCain proposes more of the same. I'm not sure how much more of this we can take as a country.

I believe that we need to balance the tax equation so that you and me, the working folks of this country, can have a chance at getting our kids into colleges and actually be able to pay the tuition. I think that corporations need to pay their equitable share and help keep America strong and balanced, socially.

I'm willing to pay what is required of me. Our taxes save lives in so many ways. I hope you agree and help do something about the politicians who are looking to give corporations yet even more tax breaks. This political season, there is a choice. A change of parties in the White House is needed.

2 comments:

OhKate said...

Your story was both chilling (I haven't experienced it, but I can imagine your fear and panic!)and heartwarming (happy ending!).

And I agree with you - I'm perfectly happy to pay my taxes. Without it we wouldn't have fire departments, police, sanitation, snow plows, public education, museums... the list goes on and on.

"The current administration has given corporations huge tax cuts in the hopes that this will trickle down and provide more jobs and investment in our communities. I don't think we can say we've seen that fruit sprout, do you? Not when it can be farmed out to countries where labor is only pennies on the hour. McCain proposes more of the same. I'm not sure home much more of this we can take as a country."

Again - you're preaching to the choir here. But I really wish people would think about this. Obama's camp says the only people who would see a raise in their taxes would be the top 5% of the food chain. I don't even know anyone that wealthy. And frankly, I can't feel too sorry for them. They benefit as much as anyone, yet in the grand scheme of things, don't contribute as fairly. This needs to stop.

"I hope you agree and help do something about the politicians who are looking to give corporations yet even more tax breaks. This political season, there is a choice. A change of parties in the White House is needed." AMEN!

Chato said...

Thank you Kate.

On a separate but related note, Alan Greenspan seems to have an opinion on the McCain tax cuts too: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aKZG._gG2NVI&refer=politics