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In Praise of Taxes

In Praise of Taxes

A few weeks ago I was traveling in my home country, The Netherlands. On my way to a morning meeting in Amsterdam I got stuck in traffic. When I had finally parked my car, I learned that the traffic chaos was created because the city is renewing the sewage system. Later that day the same thing happened to me in The Hague. And as it turns out, that city is also renewing its sewers. Good idea, I realized, since these sewage systems are about a hundred years old and they surely need some maintenance.

My thoughts went back to the Dutch sewers when I came home to California and caught up with the news about the presidential elections. I read about two candidates frantically explaining how they would lower taxes in the best interest of all Americans. Because that’s the one thing they seem to agree on: Lowering taxes is a good and necessary thing. In fact, through their messages they strengthen the widespread belief that taxes are bad.

I’m not saying that I love nothing better in life than paying taxes, but I have to say that I felt good that politicians and bureaucrats in The Netherlands decided to invest in modernizing the sewage systems. We need governments to invest in the common good. We need them to invest in schools and hospitals, obviously, but also in roads, bridges and indeed sewage systems. It is not a good idea that politicians are competing on how to spend less money on the common good.

At the same time governments lose a lot of money in inefficient, bureaucratic systems and there is therefore a continuous need to be vigilant about government spending. But in the end we should be proud and happy to pay our taxes. They are a good thing and a sign that we value the “we” and the “us” in our world. Because, as we all know, it’s not only about “I” and “me.”

Jurriaan Kamp is the founder and editor of Ode Magazine, the magazine for intelligent optimists.

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Jurriaan Kamp

The Intelligent Optimist is a community centered around a magazine, a website and online events and courses. We focus on the people, passion and possibilities changing our world for the better.


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1:39AM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

Interesting article.

1:58AM PST on Feb 18, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:32PM PST on Dec 29, 2011

Just search U.C.C.1-308..just search..Dean Clifford and his tutorials.. hear the voice of reason..taxation is theft..ignorance is killing America..that's it..statutory law is fraud, corporate commercial law applies to commercial and corporate are Bonded people..sold on foreign markets..when China or IMF foreclose on will be speaking Chinese..or wars..or consent no rule..will you do it.. no.. you won't..and that is what is killing you..ignorance and conventionality..patriotism and politics..sad..some of us will escape..I doubt many Americans steeped in propaganda and lies and frauds..sad..

8:08AM PDT on Sep 6, 2011

Allow me to offer some dissent. As a passionate Anarcho-Capitalist Taxes represents the use of force and violence to wrest from others what they have produced. I am opposed to the use of force for anything but self defense of life and property. Nothing pains me more than to think that my tax dollars are used to fund wars of aggression to take from people thousands of miles away what is rightfully theirs.

2:28AM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Nice article, makes sense. If we pay 1% more tax and it benefits us by 2% then it's worth it. Politicians say anything to get power. We should be voting for policies instead of people. (one more time) I won't be happy until I see a computer take a politicians job! I'd rather have a monkey with a calculator than a thieving lying sneering smirking unnacountable politician looking after my finances!

5:50AM PDT on Mar 28, 2011

Thanks for the info.

4:11PM PDT on May 16, 2010

I only just discovered this article; but I like the example of the Australian, Dick Smith, who said he was happy when he paid taxes, because his tax bill was a reminder of how successful his business had been during the year. A positive attitude!

8:21PM PDT on Oct 29, 2008

The tax is more than useful and affordable - it serves a crucial principle, by claiming for the community a share of fortune that is enjoyed only by fluke of birth. When the wealth gap has widened to a chasm, this task is more, not less, essential.
Drug Rehabs

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