10 a.m. Saturday August 4, 2012
“Don’t forget, it’s tax-free weekend!” my mother hollered over her shoulder as she headed out of our house on Saturday, August 4th.
My heart began to race, my palms became wet with sweat as, in my mind, I began rearranging my family’s whole weekend so that my husband and I could get to the stores before everything we needed was stripped from the shelves: shoes and clothes for our ever-growing nine and eighteen year old boys, sheets for our oldest son’s new bed in his first apartment, and something, anything else on the tax-free approved list we might need or be able to sneak into the cart: new pencils, pens, paper, folders, crayons, pens, erasers, printer ribbon, and the list goes on. Maybe I could even load up on some new work clothes for myself and my husband whose field-boots were looking worse for wear these days.
Use to be, I didn’t pay much attention to this money-saving holiday. It wasn’t as though the savings didn’t matter, but, well, they didn’t matter so much or enough for me to give over a whole weekend (or even a few hours) to shopping in order to save what, for many of us, may only amount to a few dollars. I don’t enjoy shopping , no matter what shape it takes – grocery or clothes or furniture or home décor; I simply do not relish traipsing through stores looking around for things I need and sometimes don’t.
But this year, like last year, like the year before, things are different and, while I may not be saving the date on my calendar, I am willing to forgo a day at the beach to get the savings I can from these state-sanctioned tax-free moments in time. Frankly, every little bit counts to just about every single one of us. From the single beaten and battered penny found in a parking lot to the $13.50 +/- saved in taxes by shopping on a tax-free weekend, the money we can save matters and the money all of us can save on all of our taxes matters even more.
This is why understanding the issue of taxation this election should be of paramount importance to all of us. Surprisingly, however, many have no idea what this issue is about or what our presidential candidates propose doing to make a difference in our lives via our taxes. It’s a downright dirty shame that this issue is so muddy, so little understood by so very many voters.
But for many Americans the lack of lucidity surrounding this issue is no different from the lack of clarity surrounding any of the other issues up for grabs in November and on the table come January. And this is the real travesty.
Truly, those of us voting in this year’s presidential election for the next person to run our country for the next four years should know, inside and out, the issues the candidates for this position plan to address when in office and what they plan to do regarding those topics. For every single one of the issues on the table this election season affects every single one of us. None of us is exempt from the effects of these decisions.
So, if when asked about the election you find yourself saying, “I don’t follow politics” or “I don’t know all the issues, I’m only concerned with . . . fill in the blank,” or “My vote doesn’t matter, so I’m not voting,” or any other answer that makes it clear you do not have enough information to make an informed decision, then be proactive in getting yourself educated about the upcoming election. Here’s how to start:
Then, my dear 122 students, we can have a discussion.