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A Purr.: Service Message from the American Income Life Insurance Co.Waco, TexasBernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Where are your taxes going? You just may be surprised. by Barbara Elmore Editorial Page Editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald Conversation overheard: First man: “What candidates are you supporting this year?” Second man: “Whatever candidate assures me he won’t raise taxes.” I moved away from the pair at this point, so I don’t know what they went on to discuss. But I can make a guess, since I am passingly familiar with both men’s get-government-out-of-our-lives philosophies. If they stayed on the subject of taxes, they probably moved on to such subtopics as how there’s no point trying to make more money, since the government is going to take it all anyhow, and how they are supporting a system that doesn’t work and people who don’t work, etc. A candidate for national office who visited Waco this week talked along the same lines. “I haven’t met one person who has asked me to raise his taxes,” he said with a wide grin. He’s probably safe in assuming that no one will. So, he pledged, he won’t raise taxes. And if this country is to balance its budget, he added, then what it must do is freeze spending. No one asked for specifics on this freeze; who would have thought to? It’s just one of those campaign claims a candidate makes because it sounds good. But if he had been questioned closely about it, he probably would have mentioned something about social programs, and how they’re costing more and more. That’s a topic that a candidate can’t lose with, especially right after April 15. I would have thought no more about it, or the conversation between the two men mentioned earlier, except for the item that I happened upon in an August 1983 issue of Arms Control Today, a publication of the Arms Control Association. It had some interesting things to say about defense spending in this country. The following numbers are not secret statistics, of course; you’ve likely been exposed to them before and then forgotten them, like most people do when they are confronted by statistics. But they are worthy of at least passing notice during this current knock-tax period: “Some relatively simple comparisons show how a trade-off between defense spending and domestic programs works. Defense Department spending on veterinary services for the pets of military personnel \($1.4 cuts in 1982 in immunization programs for children \($2 cuts in planned 1984 spending for child nutrition \($26 refund the cuts planned in 1984 spending on aid to The article also noted that defense spending takes 40 percent of the budget that’s funded by income taxes, and that since income taxes have been cut, revenues for the defense buildup are coming from cuts in other programs. Finally, it notes that the United States’ current defense buildup is the first of its kind in peacetime. My point in mentioning the above data is not to point out the need for a freeze in defense spending, or to beg for a rapid increase in social spending. I’m aware that the Arms Control Association of Washington, D.C., is disarmament-oriented, and I’m not suggesting we disarm. Nor do I want to finance the lifestyle of someone who is able to work but won’t. I don’t think anyone does, unless there are more saints out there than I know about. But I am increasingly irritated by the irresponsible tone or maybe it’s simply a skewed life-view of taxtime oratory which focuses on the ne’er-do-wells in society who are stealing our income. These arguments rarely, if ever, put social spending side-by-side with defense spending to see just where the money goes. They rarely mention, either, the ne’er-do-wells in the Defense Department who are stealing our money and are probably a lot better at it than we suspect. A final note: I don’t like taxes, either. But they’re better than the alternative. This essay first appeared in the Waco Tribune-Herald. Reprinted with permission. American Income Life Insurance Company EXECUTIVE OFFICES: P.O. BOX 208, WACO, TEXAS 78703, 817-772-3050 BERNARD RAPOPORT Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer 14 JUNE 29, 1984