Taxes pay for the things we care about (2)
JED: A good tax isn't going to be confusing about why or how we're paying it. Actually, that's true for paying taxes AND doing chores.
BRIDGET: I get it. And when a tax doesn't feel fair...or it's confusing...that's maybe when we start to get annoyed by them. Take that chores example...let's say one weekend, your sister didn't have to...wash the car because it rained. [thunder and lightning] The car is clean and your sister didn't have to do a thing! [tweeting birds, rain is over] But you still have to vacuum [vacuum noise in background] because there's no tiny and specific tornado that can come through and suck up all the dust. [fade out] Ugh, thanks non-existent tiny and specific tornado! Now this chores thing is starting to feel...well, unfair!
JED: SO UNFAIR!
BRIDGET: I'm guessing it's the same with taxes, right? JED: It is.
RENU 6.5: One of the big things right now that people point to, that they do not like, that they see as terribly unfair, is people or companies that are paying LESS than they think they should be paying. It just seems like they're getting away with something or they think there is a loophole or some kind of trick they're playing with the law.
JED: And when it seems like SOME people aren't being taxed in the same way that everyone else is, that's when things don't feel so good anymore.
RENU 7 : And then we get mad. That's what causes fights. That's what causes some anger. Because everybody wants to pay their taxes, but nobody wants to pay more than they have to.
JED: Here's the good news though. We have more choices now, and here, than Robin Hood did back in Medieval England. His land was ruled by a King who decided alone how much to tax people, when he felt like collecting those taxes, and what to spend them on. That's not the case here.
S2 E2 Taxes - Script / p. 7
PICKUP BRIDGET: That's right. We vote for the people who work together to decide where our tax dollars go. If you want to know more about how that tax spending works in your area, check out our website, Marketplace dot org slash Million.
JED: Because learning more about your tax dollars and what they do can be as satisfying as a well-folded linen closet.
FURNITURE: KIDS HAVE A SAY (Sevi & Zael)
BRIDGET: Well, look who it is! Robin Hood! I almost didn't recognize you in that suit. ROBIN HOOD: Good morrow, Bridget! Jed!
JED: (aside) I would've recognized him. Those are the tightest suit pants I've ever seen. Plus, you know, the bow and arrow.
BRIDGET: What's with the new get up? What're you up to these days?
ROBIN HOOD: Well, I've put my thieving days behind me. Now, the merry men and I are community organizers, trying to get the word out to voters about how we think taxes should be used.
BRIDGET: Oh, well that's a much more civically-minded way of handling things. What ways of spending do you support?
ROBIN HOOD: Oh, you know, more money for the poor, of course. And incentives for arrow production.
JED: Of course.
PICKUP ROBIN HOOD: Would you care to sign our petition to increase park funding?
BRIDGET: Why, I'd be glad to-, wait a minute, this isn't a petition. This is a letter granting you access to my bank account and all my money!
ROBIN HOOD: Old habits die hard.
JED: Ok, well, we gotta get out of here. Troubadour Larry, lay down a tune, as we get ready to go.
[PAUSE FOR MUSIC TO COME IN - Gentle Lute music]
S2 E2 Taxes - Script / p. 8
JED: Taxes might not be fun to pay -- no one likes feeling like they're spending extra money. But as we learned today, they go to pay for a lot of things our society has decided are important.
BRIDGET: Of course, it's not a perfect system, and sometimes we disagree about them. It's easy for people just to get mad at taxes and say things like, “They're too high” or “We should get rid of them altogether.”
JED: It's harder to look into issues and make up your mind about them and really really hard to do something to change things. Next time you hear a grownup saying something like, “Taxes are the worst!” ask them which taxes and what they'd be willing to give up in order not to pay them.
BRIDGET: We bet after a while, they'll stop complaining about taxes when you're around.
JED: Grownups complain too much! They need to chill. It's almost as bad as when you get Crunchy Broccoli Clumps stuck between your teeth. Man, food is the worst!
CLOSE MUSIC + CREDITS
BRIDGET: Well that's it for now. Thanks for listening to Million Bazillion -- where we help dollars make more sense.
JED: Next time we're answering a BIG question about banks! If you've got an idea for an episode, or a question you want answered, email us at Marketplace dot org slash million.
BRIDGET:If you liked this episode and you want to know more, check out our brand new bonus newsletter for kids and their grownups. There's a listener tip sheet and a super fun comic about taxes. Sign up today at Marketplace dot org slash BONUS and we'll send it right to your email inbox.
JED: Plus, you'll be the first to know when we've got new episodes, and other fun stuff from our team,...like how to get your own Million Bazillion t-shirt.That's Marketplace dot org slash BONUS.
BRIDGET: We had help making this episode. Special thanks to Renu Zaretsky at the Tax Policy Center for helping us understand the answer to this question. And to the voicing talents of Kimberly Adams, Sabri Ben Achour, Marc Sanchez, and Bekah Wineman.
JED: Million Bazillion is brought to you by Marketplace
S2 E2 Taxes - Script / p. 9
In collaboration with Brains On! And American Public Media. I'm your host, Jed Kim...
The senior producer is my co-host, Bridget Bodnar
Marissa Cabrera is our producer.
Sanden Totten is our editor.
Chris Julin is our sound designer.
Our theme music was created by Wonderly.
This episode was mixed by Bekah Wineman.
Our digital team includes Erica Phillips and Tony Wagner.
Sitara Nieves is the Executive Director of On Demand at Marketplace.
BRIDGET: And special thanks to the people who provided the startup funding for Million Bazillion, and who continue to help keep us going: The Ranzetta Family Charitable Fund and Next Gen Personal Finance, supporting Marketplace's work to make younger audiences smarter about the economy.
JED: To all the grown-ups listening right now – we hope that you and the kids in your life are having some good conversations about money thanks to Million Bazillion. We created this podcast to help kids get an early start on learning about the economy – and to keep it going, we're counting on your support. Donate today at marketplace-dot-org-slash-givemillion, and thanks for chipping in to make our work possible.