A practical necessity: Sharing resources so all can benefit from mutually agreed upon ‘projects’ … both vital and beneficial. We need a police force and the military, good roads and schools … scientific research and the ‘arts’. So we tax ourselves to develop and sustain these … a reasonable ‘trade’ … part of our labor given in support of the ‘common good’. Keeps us in sync with common goals. Prosperity made more possible for all. Nothing wrong with that. But … always a curmudgeonly observation … is everyone willing to pay taxes? Do some cheat? Are others able to avoid ‘deductions’ legally? Trust funds perhaps? And are government expenditures always reasonable … necessary … justifiable? Hopefully.
A nation’s prosperity emanates from the labor of its citizens. During the 20th Century the ‘western’ world has sustained unparalleled growth. A large, affluent middle class has emerged. Capitalism works. Driven by realistic goals to improve and acquire many workers have been able to purchase homes and sustain a comfortable life. ‘Everyone’ wants to ‘make money’ and enjoy the benefits of ‘commercialism’. Ubiquitous advertising encourages this. Attractive images … intriguing ‘offerings’ entice us to participate. “Buy a Chevy … only $199 a month.” Don’t forget the taxes.
Thus we have a dynamic, self-perpetuating cycle of work yielding pay for purchasing with deductions for government coffers in the process. This seems to be a sensible way of funding public ‘works’, education, entitlement programs, medical research and a host of services. We expect local, state and federal bureaucracies to safeguard our banks, investments and property. And to accomplish all this we foster a sense of civic responsibility. We willingly share our labor and resources. We rely on anonymous minions to devise and administer programs for the ‘common good’ with a minimum of waste … a system not unlike those of the ancient Greeks and Romans. So what went wrong? Too much dependency perhaps? An ever widening gulf between a coddled, complacent populace and ‘ruling’ aristocrats?
Today it is expedient for us to maintain confidence in government. We ARE very busy … but the media keeps us informed. We have some ‘say’: We elect officials and keep a close eye on the judiciary. Pompous autocrats are ridiculed and ostracized … usually. You ARE paying for services and expect even demand an ‘accounting’. And as long and skills and resources sustain growth and reasonable comfort and safety … the ‘system’ ‘works’. But remain vigilant: A bloated, ‘out-of-touch’, arbitrary ruling class can ‘take’ too much from you and me and squander needlessly, foolishly, recklessly. Too much for the military perhaps? One fairly dependable safeguard: Keep a substantial portion of government revenues ‘close to home’. You CAN monitor expenditures when you ‘know’ who is making decisions … who is spending YOUR money. If you become a complacent supplicant … well … you might want to consider the not so happy endings in the past.