Taxes — Friend or Enemy of Civilization?

Monte Solberg:

our interesting friends on the left often try to justify high taxes by referring to famed U.S. jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. who once said, “Taxes are the price we pay for civilization.”

If ever there was a misleading half truth that is it.

Actually, taxes don’t buy us civilization beyond that tiny percentage of our tax bill that pays for our justice system, police forces and military. Clearly we need those things to establish the rule of law.

However, after that the case for taxes gets a little thin. The truth is that the overwhelming majority of the good things in life come from outside of government and almost all government services could be more efficiently provided by entrepreneurs if governments would only let them.

Remember that language, law, money and markets all preceded taxpayer-funded government, as Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich Hayek famously pointed out.

So did family and faith, as God famously pointed out. So did the arts, as our early ancestors were only too happy to draw to and for our attention on the walls of caves. Science and discovery occurred first because humankind has always wanted to know. Today one of the things people want to know is why their taxes are so high …

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One Response to Taxes — Friend or Enemy of Civilization?

  1. Rebecca Burlingame says:

    People probably would be a lot more understanding about taxes if they remained simple and especially, if there was actually some element of personal choice as to where those taxes went. That would be more efficient than electing someone and crossing one’s fingers that the elected would actually put the voter’s taxes in the appropriate place.

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