No. of Recommendations: 68
Responding to syke6's post simply because it hit Best Of, but I'd like to address what I think is a destructive meme in our society that showed up in this thread after checking out several other posts on this thread.

There was one phrase repeated several times and that many probably believe, at least to the extent of first-level thinking. Here it is: For our rulers, it is never enough.

Actually, we probably get pretty good value for what we pay in taxes. Consider this:

• Paved and marked roads.
• Schools to educate our children.
• National parks and forests to destress in.
• Police protection.
• Fire, police, and other emergency response when needed.
• Help in recovery from natural disasters.
• Investigations of crimes and removal of criminals from our streets.
• The court system where we can challenge any or all of this, or seek redress against those we think have harmed us.
• Traffic signals and lighted roads.
• Utility control boards so that we pay a controlled and fairly well known amount for necessities like water, sewage, and electricity.
• Clean drinking water.
• Pretty clean land and water and air.
• The many things the USDA and other bureaucracies do that are not well known (but Michael Lewis is making a dent in that). Beyond subsidies to farmers.
• Safe drugs and medicines.
• Basic research into many different things that have demonstrably led to better and safer and longer lives.
• Weather forecasting.
• Sand and salt and clearing of roadways when it snows.
• Pretty safe coasts and SAR in our waterways.
• Mass transit.
• Inspections making sure our buildings do not crumble around our ears (or collapse on our heads) and work as they're meant to.
• Clean restaurants and investigations when we get sick at them.

You get the picture and I'm sure that anyone with half a brain could think of another dozen things to add to the above.

We want all of those things. We want to know if it'll rain today so we can dress and plan appropriately and that means using data generated by NOAA. We want good and safe roads to drive on as we go about our daily lives. We want to be reasonably certain that any and all of the stuff we voluntarily put into our bodies (food, drink, medicine, drugs) will not immediately kill us or make us ill. We want to know that we're reasonably safe as we go outside our homes or even stay within them. We want all of this and more.

But for some reason, many of us do not want to pay for them. What do you think our taxes pay for? Sometimes I think that anyone who doesn't want to pay taxes should be accomodated ... and forbidden to benefit from or use anything that their taxes help pay for. Then we'll see how long that tune lasts.

Yeah, there's undoubtedly a lot of wastage, though it's probably less than many think. Can you name a long-running human institution where that isn't the case over time?

But we sure as hell get a lot for what we pay for. Maybe more than we deserve.

And, no, I'm not some liberal snowflake. I'm a person who tries to at least attempt some second-level thinking. The system's not perfect and I agree that we should work to make it better, but it's a lot better than the alternative.

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