Taxes are just the price of society and civic living

The letter ‘Taxes Eat Income’ mentions a Fraser Institute claim that almost 45 per cent of an average family’s income goes to taxes.

The letter to the editor ‘Taxes Eat Income’ (The NEWS, Feb. 2) mentions a Fraser Institute claim that almost 45 per cent of an average family’s income goes to taxes of various kinds.

That sounds like an enormous proportion, but it is worth considering whether alternatives to high taxation are preferable — and I won’t mention health care or federal services such as foreign affairs and the military that require collective funding.

Policing, for example. Should we all buy a gun and pay private security companies to police our neighbourhood? Is that really better than a good police force paid for collectively through taxes?

Education. If all children were educated in private schools, households without school-age children would not pay towards the cost of schooling. But because education is expensive, many children would be served only by something like old-style charity schools.

Soon those very people rejoicing in reduced taxes would complain that most of the working people they met, including caregivers, were severely under-educated. Schooling is important for the entire community, so it makes sense that everyone should pay for it through taxes.

Water provided by a private company is rarely cheaper than that from a town-owned facility. Nor, without taxes, could we hope to rely on the government to ensure that safety standards are met.

Walkerton, Ont. and Flint, Michigan exemplify what happens when reduced government income leads to a cut in water-inspection services.

Then there is the provision and maintenance of highways and neighbourhood streets. Just imagine the nuisance of tolls on all main roads, or for neighbours having to commission someone to pave their section of the street.

And there are many, many more possible examples where collective funding wins out.

So before you follow the example of the Fraser Institute and take up arms against taxes, please ask yourself whether you would really be better off without them.

They are, after all, the price that we pay for belonging to a community and a country.

Elizabeth MarslandQualicum Beach