Happy to pay taxes

The Peoria Journal Star has an interesting letter-to-the-editor today:

I am proud to pay my taxes.

After all, I am gainfully employed and earned the money, which generated the levying of those taxes. I have a roof over my head, and a pillow for it at night. I have sufficient food for my sustenance, a vehicle for transportation, decent health and the ability to care for myself.

My background suggests that I should be grateful for these gifts, and compassionate enough to share them with those less fortunate. Why should I begrudge those who struggle when I can help them? Why should I deny the means to repair roads, establish small businesses, provide new jobs for those seeking them, ensure safe housing and milk for children, or provide better educational opportunities for those most in need?

What happened to the U.S.A. which once saw itself as a community that pitched in and contributed to others without second-guessing how hard they worked or how much they needed, without micro-managing the economy for selfish ends, with resisting participation in this nation’s forward movement toward a solid economy?

Or have we all joined the ranks of those CEOs who only saw greed at the ends of their noses?

May the spirit of charity reign, especially on April 15.

Dr. Jean E. Jost

I applaud Dr. Jost for writing her letter. I agree with some of what she says. But I don’t think it’s a set of arguments that’s going to get very far with many Americans.

Liberals need to come up with an entire way to frame and discuss taxes. But I think we need to start with the assumption that most people hate taxes, not that they are happy to pay them or see it as patriotic. We might eventually be able to define tax-paying as patriotic, but I don’t think people will ever be happy – not when they have to pay for things they don’t like (taxes are not voluntary), and that includes both the left and the right.

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