Posted by: Jack | December 11, 2006

Tax Evasion is a Crime

An ever popular issue in the Olympia area is the rights of the people known as “downtowners”. This is basically a euphanism for homeless folk. There are certain locations — bus stations, city parks, libraries, store-front awnings — that attract groups of homeless people day and night. Obviously there are those who would like to see these people off of the sidewalks and not sleeping in the parks all day. The common retort is that these are all public places and no laws are being broken. And we all understand that rights cannot be stripped away without due process and all that.

I have come to realize my current position on this situation. The elaborate infrastructure that supports our society is not a free commodity. Everything that is defined as public is paid for by taxes. That is why it is law that people living and working in this country pay taxes. Taxes are not set up just to rob people of money. We are cooperatively supporting an extraordinary number of priveledges and conveniences. I don’t believe that those who do not contribute to this support system should be able to reap the benefits.

I do believe that society should do everything it can to help all people rise to a position where they can contribute to society. Olympia does far more than the average city in this respect. There are programs setup such that low-income and no-income people can receive three meals a day every day, free health services, jobs with almost no required skills or even mental capacity and on top of all that, this state has the highest minimum wage in the country. And there is all sorts of housing available only to low-income persons with very affordable rent.

There are people who take advantage of all of these programs and do better their life. My problem is not with them. The problem is people who have actively decided to live “separated from mainstream society” as they often say. Many of these people have setup permanent camp grounds in public woodlands within the city. They do not have the desire to live in a home and therefore believe they are justified in not contributing back to the city. But many of these people spend their days on street corners asking for money and it is well known that they make out pretty well; often more than $50/day. These people who give nothing back to the city they live in, take money from those who have worked for it and spend it on not food; thats free to them, not medical treatments; already provided at no charge, but rather on items which the city will never provide to anyone at no charge: alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Meanwhile they turn the few natural areas in town into their own personal garbage dumps and toilets. Used syringes can easily be found just lying on a trail. Abondoned camps are stripped of any worthwhile items and the rest is left as if its someone’s responsibility to clean them up.

So I say if you want to live “beyond mainstream society”, you must sacrifice all that society provides. You must live away from any city and provide entirely for yourself. There are people who do that and I give them credit for their dedication to their beliefs. But a city is not a free resource. A city belongs to the people who build and maintain it, not those who abuse it.

Walking into a Fazzoli’s does not entitle you to all-you-can-eat breadsticks.

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