New York City, NY

Opinion: My Subsidized Life

Remington Write

And my sincere gratitude to the tax payers making it possible
"My" backyard, Central Park, thank you for that as well, taxpayers!Photo byTammy Remington

As my three-year healthcare insurance dream comes to an end, I want to pause and thank the tax-payers of the State of New York - of which I am one, btw - because for three years I have had the enormous privilege of having healthcare insurance that worked beautifully. Being on Medicaid has been like being a European for three years, but as of Halloween (for real) I'll be back to being an ordinary American for whom health care is an expensive possibility.

There was that time when I began to experience an annoying pain under my tongue wayyy in the back, like almost in my ear. At first, I thought I’d chipped a tooth back there. After a flurry of back and forth texts to my new student dentist —those kids grow up and graduate so quickly— and after my partner peered in there with a flashlight we realized what we were dealing with was your common, ordinary canker sore. Probably.

I started the salt water rinses (OUCH!).

The next morning I took my canker sore to CityMD. Having danced this dance before I didn’t even bother going over to the front desk. I dutifully went to the “kiosk” and started the electronic check-in. Photo front and back of my state ID, check that each page of information is right, click yes on my health care insurance information and then the magic screen appeared:

Co-pay due today: $0

I bowed my head in humble appreciation for the American taxpayer.

Yes, yes. I know I’ve dissed you in the past and — fair warning — will do so in the future mostly because you are in large part about the most boneheaded people on the planet. But that’s not what we’re talking about today. Today we are talking about the many ways our tax dollars improve people’s lives (and, yes, I am still watching over $80 each week not show up in my tiny, part-time paycheck, thankyouverymuch).

That said, let me count some of the other ways in which The American Taxpayer — and more specifically The Heavily Overburdened New York Taxpayer — subsidizes many of the things I enjoy and rely upon in my daily life.

There’s that ever-popular NYC Ferry that I crow about. You know, the one that costs a cool $4.00 per ride?That one. Take a wild guess how much that ride would cost without the subsidies pulled from hard-working New Yorkers’ taxes each year. Ready? Over $12 per ride. That’s right, Nadine, when you see that shocking number on your tax return each year try to comfort yourself with a refreshing zip out to the Rockaways on the ferry. For $4.00.
Little Island as seen from aboard a NYC FerryPhoto byTammy Remington

Speaking of transportation, now that I'm officially "old" I qualify for the half-fare Metrocard, also courtesy of government subsidization.

Then there’s what I pay for rent each month. This one really gets people wound up. About a million of my fellow New Yorkers and I belong to a much-maligned and ferociously envied club: Lease-holders of rent-stabilized apartments in New York City. This does not necessarily mean that we all are paying three-digit rent on the apartments we will never willingly move out of before dying. My neighbors across the hall and upstairs are in rent-stabilized units that run damned close to $3000 a month (who can afford that?!). But it does mean that the owners of these buildings can’t slam any of us with the 30%+ rent rate hikes that market-rate apartments can get hit with.

And who do we have to thank for this happy state of affairs? Again, the long-suffering taxpayers.

Yes, even my rent is subsidized by the taxpayers of the great and glorious Empire State. Don’t think for a minute I’m not grateful because I am. Grateful, that is. In fact, my being able to afford this apartment hits my nightly gratitude list fairly regularly.

Again, I humbly thank all the taxpayers…including myself and my partner who actually has to pay taxes on his Social Security benefits (what a great country, huh?).

These are just a few of the highlights of how taxpayer money is used to benefit ordinary people’s lives. I’m sure there are more but you get the point. Perhaps this has you seeing red. Maybe you think this is a rip-off and a waste of your hard-earned money.

I submit to you that the real rip-off and the real waste of the money filched from our hard-earned piddly little paychecks is this country’s military budget. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already suspect or know…or am I? Perhaps you need a little break from Netflix, hmmm? Half of what gets siphoned out of your paycheck goes to design, develop, manufacture, and deploy high-ticket weaponry that then gets shipped off to faraway lands to kill people. Then, of course, some of those weapons came in mighty handy when dealing with those wacky BLM characters in this country as well. Yup, Henderson, you and I are funding murder and mayhem here and abroad.

Makes ya proud, huh?

Sidebar: Know what those loony democratic socialists in Europe get for their admittedly high taxes? A lot more than cheap ferry rides and affordable rent for a mere million in a city of over eight million, that’s for sure.

It’s my considered opinion that workers in this country are being soaked for far higher taxes than they realize and that most of the money taken from their paychecks goes to fund somevery questionable enterprises (Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ukraine, anyone?). As one of those being ripped off every week, I’m here to state without equivocation that any tax dollar of mine that goes to actually make a fellow American’s life easier is a dollar well spent.

I'll go further. Any tax dollar of mine that benefits the lives of political refugees crowding into my city after my country has destablized theirs is also a well-spent dollar.

And for every tax dollar of mine that goes to kill people, I wish I had a say in the matter.

I apologize.

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Covert dilettante with an omnivorous capacity for wonder. Writing because I can't not write. Always watching for the hidden patterns and connections. I don't know I cannot fly..........and so I do.

New York City, NY

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