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Monday, March 30, 2009

Why we are taxed

Why we are taxed.

Nobody likes paying taxes. Even those who know that taxation is necessary and just, do not welcome the tax-collector as a bosom friend. It is not pleasant to see part of your monthly income taken away from you in income tax; and the farmer feels aggrieved that so much of his rents, or the profits of his labor, is carried off by government officials. Ignorant people think this is an injustice and make a grievance of it; so it is just as well that we should know why we are taxed, so that we can see the fairness of the system.

Every country must have a government of some sort, or life would be impossible. The primary duties of a government are to protect the life and property of the citizens, to maintain law and order and settle disputes between citizens in a just and orderly way through the law-courts, to defend the country from foreign foes, and to maintain and roads and highway. Besides this, many governments maintain and direct education, provide hospitals for the sick, and attend to sanitation. All these great public duties need money: an army and navy have to be kept up, the police force and the judges have to be paid, schools have to be provided and teachers supported, expert health-officers and sanitary engineers have to be employed. Now where is all the money needed for these public services to come from? That question is answered by another; for whose benefit are all these services maintained? The answer is, for the public. It is the people as a whole, rich and poor that benefit by security of life and property, by the sound administration of justice, by the maintenance of roads, by the public hospitals, public schools, and good sanitation. Therefore it is only right that the public, the individual citizens of the country, should contribute the money needed; for the money they give comes back to them in the shape of these public benefits which all enjoy.

So long, there fore, as we have a good and efficient government, so long as our money is being used in the right way, and so long as the burden of taxation is distributed fairly, as different classes can bear it, we have no right to grumble at having to pay our share of the taxes.

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