Tuesday, April 30, 2013

This Is What Taxes Are For

A year ago, I was thinking about retraining as a physical therapist. If the people around me knew how insane that idea was, they very kindly didn't say so. That was before I was able to even acknowledge, let alone accept the extent of the visual damage I suffer or that if my balance is going to improve substantially, then it is going to take a long time. The brutal reality is that I have great difficulty reading (these posts are off the top of my brain damaged head, never edited) and I fall over in my own home. I usually catch myself and have yet to hurt myself. but I do keel over.

Yesterday I got a deposit in my bank account that strongly suggests (I'll wait for a letter, thanks) that my application for Social Security Disability Insurance was accepted. This is undoubtedly a good thing on a practical level: I don't have to worry about my rent every month, or how to  pay for acupuncture; I can take the "Donate" button down, and I can pay for my own brunch on Sundays rather than accepting the great generosity of good friends. So, for sure, a Good Thing.

On the other hand though, it does mean that people whose job it is to filter out lazy scoundrels, which I was afraid of being, have agreed that yes, you can't do any work worth doing. That is a rather sobering thought for someone who always thought "at least I can get hired to do something, after all I've worked at Goldman Sachs and Google so somebody should want to hire me."

I am eligible for SSDI because I paid a bunch of SS contributions; mandatory taxes. Although I'm pretty shit at completing my taxes on time, and I complain mightily about the process, I have no complaints about actually paying tax. In fact, I believe in societal taxation. The world is chaotic and sometimes terrible things happen, and civilized societies have systems in place to mitigate the chaos and help the people to whom bad things have happened.

Perhaps my perspective is very European or socialist or whatever, but it will be something like ten years before I take out of the SS Insurance program more than I put in to it. I didn't complain then, and I'm grateful now. This, not guns, agribusiness subsidies, or Congressional fact-finding in the Cayman Islands is what taxation is for. Social security should be the last thing on the chopping block, always. At the very least because bad things can happen to you, too.

On a day-to-day basis this means I get to concentrate on getting better, and have less angst, so we all win.