My Two Cents’ Worth on Taxes

June 16, 2012

Nobody likes taxes, but everybody has to pay them. Over the past 30 years or so, people have demanded that government get by on less and less, so much so that one politician recently said that he wanted government to be so small that he could drown it in a bathtub. Well, Mr. Politician, sir, I have news for you.

People depend on government for all sorts of things. Anything that cannot be done by the individual by him- or herself is done by government.

Do we want good schools for our children? The public school system is a government function, provided to our children at the local, state, and federal levels of … you guessed it … government.

Do we want roads and bridges good enough to get us where we’re going and back? Government provides these, funded by way of taxation, tolls, and gasoline taxes. Government decides where roads will go and provides for them via the power of eminent domain.

Do we want sewer lines and power lines and rail lines and airlines? Government either provides these directly or regulates them to make certain they are safe. Just as with roads, government decides where they will go via the power of eminent domain. Would we really rather do without regulated sewer lines? power lines? airlines? Government gave the railroads their original rights-of-way in the 19th century and continues to do so today. Amtrak is a government function. Government supported the development of the national electric grid and continues to do so today. Government provides the air marshalls on planes. Should we do without air marshalls on planes?

Do we want police and firefighters? Government either provides these services or funds them with grants. Do we want those police to have guns? Government purchases, provides, and regulates the availability of guns in our society, and, unless we really and truly want to go back to the days of the Wild West, that’s a good thing.

Do we want courts? Government is the only place where individuals can find justice in our society. Nations without strong court systems often succumb to mob rule. OK, so you don’t think this nation would slump toward mob rule. Do we really want private industry to administer our legal system?

Do we want emergency medical services? Government provides and/or regulates these services. Do we want 911 services? Government … again.

Do we want community and/or public radio and television stations? Government
regulates and licenses use of the public airwaves and, in no small measure, pays for public radio and television service out of funds provided by you and me, the citizenry at large.

Do we want to defend ourselves on the world stage? Where else but in government can we find the resources necessary to protect this nation on the world stage? The United States Navy patrols the world’s oceans. Do we want some other nation to take up this responsibility? Would we be willing to allow some other country to keep the world safe for international commerce? 95% of the world’s goods travel by boat. What other nation could hope to keep places like the Strait of Hormuz open? If we want to trade with other nations and make certain that the resources we need are available, we have to have a navy large enough to do the job. Private industry isn’t about to do anything like that, and couldn’t afford to do so if it tried.

Do we want to regulate commerce, protect our food supply, and make sure that everyone has access to clean air, water, and land to live on? Government does that job for us, funded by our tax dollars.

Do we want to be assured that the doctors and dentists and professionals we go to for help in time of need are certified and actually able to help us? Government licenses and regulates the professions; would we rather “trust” them to regulate themselves?

Do we want hospitals? Government funds, licenses, and regulates them. The recent example of a hospital that didn’t have minimal supplies, right here in our area, is enough to convince the most skeptical soul that hospitals need to be regulated . . . by government.

Do we want our children, the elderly, the developmentally delayed and disabled to be protected and have access to goods and services they need to survive and thrive? Government funds and regulates many of these programs, and provides some of them directly.

Do we want our laws to protect everyone, regardless of personal characteristics? Government.

Do we want to protect our borders? Government.

Do we want carpenters, electricians, plumbers, stone- and brickmasons, hairdressers to be competent? Government licenses and regulates these professions as well.

Let’s face it. If we do not pay for these things, they will not get done, will not happen, will not be available when we need them, and, as a result, each and every one of us will be put at risk. Badfinger, a rock and roll band from the 1970s (famous, among other things, for being “the other band” recorded by Apple Records, The Beatles’ production company), may have said it best:

If you want it,

Here it is!

Come and get it!

Make your mind up fast!

If we want it, we have to pay for it. Don’t let any politician, regardless of political party, tell you otherwise. Local, county, state and federal, we have to pay for it or, eventually, we’ll have to find a way to get along without it. Can’t understand what I’m trying to say? Let’s put it this way: Do you want Wal-Mart to be in charge of all that stuff? I didn’t think so!

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