Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#200 / Paying For What We Get

I am absolutely in favor of paying for what I get, individually. I am also in favor of paying for what we get, collectively. In other words, I don't think that taxes are "theft," and I think that the United States government is absolutely obliged to pay back the money it has borrowed in our name. I well understand that this means that we are going to have to tax ourselves to make certain that our government both can and will do that.

Most people, I believe, would not claim that they should receive goods and services without paying for them. Most would also agree that they should pay back any money they might have borrowed. However, people who would see this as natural in the individual context may not see that the same rules apply at a collective level. Why should I have to pay for what someone else gets?

Our willingness to accept taxation as legitimate (and in fact to accept the legitimacy of government itself) is directly related to how we see ourselves. Are we individuals only, or are we part of a greater whole?

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