Someone posted a comment to one of my previous blogs to the effect that taxation is theft. This is a not-uncommon complaint of the far right–that government is using its coercive power to steal the fruits of honest labor from its citizens.
I see a different picture. I see whiners who want to steal from their fellow-citizens–people who accept and use the services provided by government with our tax dollars, but who are indignant at the notion that they should pay their fair share for those services. They drive on streets paved with tax dollars, call on police when assaulted, employ workers educated in our public schools, put their garbage out for pickup, are protected by the National Guard and armed forces…No matter how loudly they complain about “socialism,” I know of none who refuse to accept their Social Security and Medicare benefits.
Talk about your “makers” and “takers”…People who want the benefits of our public infrastructure but get indignant when asked to pay for those benefits sure seem to me to fall into the “takers” category.
The issue confronting thoughtful citizens is not “how do we avoid paying for what we get?” The issue is “how do we insure that government is operating efficiently and fairly, that it is doing those things that are properly its job and not others?” “How do we ensure that we are paying a fair price for services we really want government to provide?”
Of course, addressing those (much more complicated) questions, and monitoring our governing institutions takes effort and a modicum of civic understanding. Fixing those institutions when they are malfunctioning–or not functioning at all, which seems to be the case now–will require real effort. It’s easier to whine.