Vail Valley Voices: It’s time to give back … |

Vail Valley Voices: It’s time to give back …

Greg Ziccardi
Vail, CO, Colorado

… Now wait just a lifetime. That implies that I took something.

I have never collected welfare. I have never walked into an emergency room and left without paying my bill. I am too proud to use food stamps. I am a parent of two children who experienced first hand the Columbine tragedy, and none of us took advantage of the free counseling services.

I’m a little crazy but have never gotten free mental health care. There was no free lunch in grade school. I paid for college. I never played midnight basketball. I hired a lawyer when I had to and I don’t even know where the offices are to apply for this “free” stuff.

I’ve paid my taxes according to the 80,000 pages of instructions, and I think the only things I’ve ever taken advantage of are the paved roads and some of the dirt ones (OK, that could be a little exaggerated).

I also appreciate and gladly accept the services our incredible military provides, whether protecting our borders or someone else’s.

So basically, everything I use, I helped pay for. So why should I be giving anything back?

It was an enormous coincidence that I was invited to have dinner with the president of the United States the other night, and I thought I could bring those points up (though only if the opportunity presented itself).

I was late arriving (as I usually am) but no one seemed to notice or care and I took my seat for appetizers. Immediately I felt at ease. The conversation was pleasant and casual around the table that evening. You heard things like “Hey Barack, how are those two crazy teenagers of yours?”

He was almost presidential and said, “They are doing great. I’m not sure they like D.C., but I think they’re warming up. They made some friends in the time we’ve been there and hopefully we’ll be there for another four years.” (Ha, ha, ha some; grovel, grovel, grovel from the others.) He returned the question right back to the plumber, “How are your kids doing?”

“Not so good” was the reply.

“I’ll fix that. I can fix anything. I’m the president.”

The plumber was respectful, but I sensed some anger and it wasn’t because of the overcooked asparagus. “I didn’t even tell you what was wrong. I also didn’t ask for your help.”

“That’s all right. You’re trying to build a small business and I’m pretty sure you can’t do it on your own. I’ll throw in some health care and education for the kids. Free college sound OK, with some real low-interest loans? Sounds good, doesn’t it? And let’s not forget about the Missus. She’s going to need some food stamps and we’re giving them away.”

He looked back at me and said, “Pass the gravy, will ya, Greg?”

I seized my opportunity.

“Hey Barack, I can’t afford this,” I said. “How do we pay for all of it?”

“Don’t worry about it. We’re going to soak the rich. I started out with a million dollar per year income, but underestimated that one. I think we got it down to about 55 large a year and that should cover it. But let’s keep that to ourselves for awhile. No one needs to know until after the election.”

I questioned him again. “Why don’t you just abolish the income tax and establish a national sales tax? That way, when rich people buy expensive things, they end up paying a lot more than the poor people. By the end of the year, the rich still get soaked and the poor only pay on what they can afford. In a sneaky little way, everybody ends up helping to pay for government services that you can’t manage. It would be very equitable. Don’t you think?”

The guy throws his hands up in the air with glee and exclaims, “That’s brilliant! I’m going with it. One change, though. I’m not going to abolish the income tax. We’ll keep the income tax and add on a national sales tax. I’m going to declare executive order on this one. Thanks for the input, G-man.”

I looked at everyone who did a little groveling earlier, shrugged my shoulders, and said, “Oops.”

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