The Tax Poem for Siri Laka

Mervyn Weerasooriya, an original entry from the Retired Commissioner General of Inland Revenue**

Tax his land, tax his bed,
Tax the table at which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Tax his cow, tax his goat,

Teach him taxes are the rule.
Tax his work, Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts Anyway!
Tax his pants, Tax his coat.

Tax his ties, tax his shirt,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his cigars, Tax his beers,If he cries tax his tears.
Tax his car, Tax his gas, Find other ways to tax his ass.

Tax all he has, then let him know
That you won’t be done, till he has no dough
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till he’s good and sore.

Then tax his coffin, Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he’s laid.
Put these words upon his tomb,
‘Taxes drove me to my doom…’

When he’s gone, do not relax,
Its time to apply the inheritance tax.

Accounts Receivable Tax, Airline surcharge tax
Airline Fuel Tax, Airport Maintenance Tax
Building Permit Tax, Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax, Death Tax
Dog License Tax, Driving Permit Tax
Excise Taxes, Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment (UI), Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax, Petrol Tax (too much per liter)
Gross Receipts Tax, Health Tax
Hunting License Tax, Hydro Tax, Inheritance Tax
Interest Tax, Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes, Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax, Mortgage Tax
Personal Income Tax, Property Tax
Poverty Tax, Prescription Drug Tax
Provincial Income Tax, Real Estate Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax, Retail Sales Tax
Service Charge Tax, School Tax
Telephone Tax, Telephone, Provincial and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax, Water Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax, Workers Compensation Tax
Entertainment Tax, Tourism Promotion Tax
Value Added Tax……..

Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our Nation was one of the
most prosperous in the world.
We had absolutely no national debt, had a large middle-class and Mom stayed
home to raise the kids. What in the hell happened?
Can you spell ‘Politicians’?

** Mervyn Weerasooriya, from St. Aloysius College, Galle and Arunachalam Hall, Peradeniya University

1 Comment

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One response to “The Tax Poem for Siri Laka

  1. Guest

    “None of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was one of the most prosperous in the world”. The statement therein and the corollary are incorrect. I am assuming the Nation referred to is SL.

    Leonard Woolf – a British gov agent/tax collector, who was in SL more than 100 years ago, says in his diary that the Brits were taxing almost anything that moved, including salt, oysters, timber, carts, guns, etc. etc. Robert Knox, who lived in SL much earlier, says that the King got his ‘share’ out of most everyday things, including land, produce, minerals etc. So taxes were a part of everyone’s woe, but the large majority of the populace was very much poorer than now.

    Hundred years ago SL had no tractors, cars, telephones, airplanes or airports, gas or fuel, possibly no hydro, as referred to in the poem. Very few wore coats and ties or even a basic education; most eked out a subsistence living, had very low life expectancy and no one had a vote.

    Industrial advances need building of infrastructure, such as roads, airports, universities, schools, hospitals, etc. If such services are to be enjoyed by many, costs have to be shared. Taxes are the best way of paying for it.

    I am assuming that the poem was written in lighter vein, but the conclusion that SL was more prosperous and mom stayed home to look after the kids, needs to be debunked. A good part of the current ‘prosperity’ is due to the increased productivity gained by women joining the work force, as well as gains made due to industrial advances.

    Similar economic theories to those in the poem, based on ‘ family values’ are being advanced by extreme right wing groups and some Republicans in US who want no taxation, restrict women’s rights, and roll back the clock to the 19 th century to reverse the gains of the 20 th century.

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