September 22nd, 2008


Why taxes are good.

The writer is Canadian, and I know she's going to get lots of grief, because she's going against the tropes the Right has been beating the rest of the world with for the past... well ever since the idea of taxes were codified.

The fact is, we need taxes. Americans pay not enough in taxes. We also, in exchange for that, get a lot less. Our bridges are falling down, we don't have health care (not as a nation. Some of us do as individuals, but it's not guaranteed, and it's at the whim of someone trying to make a profit... it's not quite the same), our roads are decrepit.

Think of all the things we demand of gov't; clean water, safe cars, oversight of employers, enforcement of contracts (those touchstones of the Libertarian Mythos... the sacred contract; which binds all and prevents gov't... never mind that the courts and the police are how we make those contracts work), the enforcement of laws, the licensing of doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, etc.

The Gov't inspects meat, fish, milk, drugs, cars. It sets minimum standards for safety in the workplace. We have safe power and the means to deliver to everyone because of Gov't.

Without giving money to the Gov't, there is no gov't. Fee for services (the oft touted alternative to apportioning the burden to everyone, and taking more from those who can better afford it; by means of progressive tax structures) isn't a lack of taxes, it's just a regressive way of seeing to it only the rich get to really partake of the good parts of gov't, while seeing to it the less pleasant parts are borne by all.

In any case, Heather Mallick hits the nail on the head: Cake or Death

...taxes are great. (Darling editor, what follows isn’t entirely new; I’ve been saying it for decades, but it’s my book.) I may be alone in this opinion but hear me out, please. I’m a fan of civilization, and taxes enable civilization. To put it another way, taxes grease the skids of living well.

Other people say loudly, endlessly, tediously that they hate taxes. They haven’t considered the alternative, so let’s embarrass them by doing that. They’d prefer to live in sod houses and spend their days combining a drop of oxygen and two drops of hydrogen so they can have homemade water rather than have it piped to their homes by tax-supported civilization. Fine, if it keeps them occupied and far away from me.

But I do not like to see civilized Canadians falling for sodbuster notions.

(h/t to commodorified)

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