The price we pay

Today is April 15. It’s the date we Americans must submit our income taxes and complain about doing so.

Here’s the truth about taxes: Nobody likes paying them. Nobody. You don’t like paying them. I don’t like paying them. I’m sure that even Rachel Maddow doesn’t like paying them.

But everyone likes the things government can do for them.

You want to be safe, don’t you? You don’t want the North Koreans, Iranians, or Visigoths ransacking our cities, burning our crops, and selling our women and children into slavery. Nor do you want some moron stealing your HD television to buy more crystal meth. So, we like the national military and local police who protect us.

You want to be able to drive on safe and paved roads, right? And while you’re driving, you want to be able to listen to Rush Limbaugh without other radio stations or CB radios interfering with the signal. So, we like the local goverments that build and pave our roads and the FCC that regulates the airwaves.

What about good schools? Maybe you don’t have school-age kids, but where do you think the person who works the register at Starbucks learned how to give you back the correct change, or the person who wrote the instruction manual for your new backyard grill learned to write, or the pharmacist who filled your prescription learned how to read the doctor’s script and dispense the right medicine? You may not like teachers’ unions, but you like that there are good schools that provide America with a well-educated populace.

So, how do we pay for everything government does for us? Do you think Ayn Rand descends from Objectivist Heaven and picks up the tab?

No, we pay for it. Taxes are the price we pay for the society we want.

Of course, we expect our elected officials to spend the money wisely on things we feel are important. If they fail to do that, we should vote them out and vote in people who will.

But if we want the things that government can do for us, we need to pay for them. If we have to fight wars, we need to pay for them. My parents and grandparents bought War Bonds and Stamps during World War II. They were willing to pay the money to keep Hitler and Tojo away. If we want good schools, we need to pay for them. I don’t want to have my kids miss out on getting a good education because schools need to cut programs and teachers have to take furlough days. And if means having to pay more taxes to get the services we need, then charge us. Don’t cut vital services or pile on debt that our children would have to pay.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but nobody wants to lose the services and protection we expect from the government. And if you want those services, you have to pay for them.