The Daily Riddle


  The Observer received this essay from Waterbury resident Vilem Fruhbauer, and it's entitled "The Daily Riddle". 

   "I went the other day to my bank on Chase Avenue and they had a board there with a Daily Riddle on it that went like this: "It belongs to you, but others use it more. What is it?" Being March, my answer was obvious, so I went to the teller and told her: "I know the answer - it's my tax money". She said: "That is not the right answer - the right answer is YOUR NAME."

  Then I started to think about it as follows. I write all the checks with my name on it to the school where I go to, to all the supply houses where I do business, to utility companies that keep my home comfortable, to the IRS, and of course to the Waterbury tax collector. In addition people who call me for my services are always asking me for my name, so I dare to say that I am using my name more than anyone else does. Sadly enough even those who are supposed to know my name, don't know how to pronounce nor spell it correctly.

   On the other hand when I hand my check to the IRS or the Waterbury tax collector, there is no doubt in my mind that what belongs to me "my tax money" is used by others more than by me. Especially when over a half of the Waterbury population is on some sort of government assistance like food stamps, social security income, energy assistance, section 8, unemployment benefits, school lunches, school tuition, etc...

   Then a painful recent memory came to my mind about the last check I wrote to the Waterbury tax collector, which resulted even in more painful conclusion of my thoughts that the Waterbury taxes are the highest in the state, yet the crime index is one of the worst in the state, and the school system here is rated "3" on a scale of 1-10 based on its public schools' test results where "10" is the best...

   So I started to question what is the cause of all of this. Is the poor school system the cause of the high taxes (it's graduates are running the local government and city departments), and is the poor school system also the cause of the high crime, and welfare dependency? Or is way my tax money is used the result of the poor school system, high taxes, high crime and welfare dependency? The good thing is that to fix broken communities and broken cities takes just a couple of generations. The bad thing is that these changes do happen only if they come from the top down.

   This article was about taxes, education, government and started with a riddle at a bank, so I am going to end it in the same spirit. Riddle of the day: "It pretends to be a government organization, but all of it's money ends up in privately owned banks. - What is it?" The answer: The Federal Reserve System. The riddle of the whole future now is: "Can any changes come from the top down if our tax money ends up in private hands both on the federal and local level?"