Most of us don't especially enjoy paying taxes, of whatever kind.
But we realize that taxes are necessary to provide for our national security and to meet other needs that cannot readily be met by the private sector.
So the issue isn't so much whether there should be taxes at all, but whether our taxes are spent wisely and according to the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution.
Too often, of course, they aren't.
But many people also question whether taxes are levied fairly.
Nearly half of American households pay no federal income taxes at all, though many of the households in that group do pay payroll taxes. Up to 10 percent of U.S. households, however, pay no net federal taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And now, two groups, Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, have said that 30 corporations avoided paying federal taxes from 2008 through 2010. Moreover, the corporations actually made money thanks to complicated tax breaks and loopholes, the organizations stated.
Not surprisingly, some of the companies disputed any suggestion that they are freeloading. And it should be noted that the companies are apparently reducing their taxes through legal means.
Some, for instance, take advantage of federal subsidies for the production of corn-based ethanol. Ethanol harms small engines and increases food prices by diverting corn from the food supply. Can you think of a good reason why Washington should be providing subsidies to promote ethanol production? We can't.
But in general, who do you think is to blame for the maze of tax laws that allows some companies to avoid paying federal taxes? Isn't it the lawmakers in Congress who enacted those laws?
Some will see this latest report as reason to blast "corporate greed." But do most Americans at any income level simply reject tax breaks and deductions when they are offered?
Shouldn't the message be that it is time to overhaul our tax code and make it simpler and more transparent -- and slash the hundreds of billions of dollars that must be spent by the American people every year on tax compliance?
Chattanooga Times: EDITORIAL: U.S. taxes unfair on multiple levels