Usually I decide on Tax Day to attribute some government purchase to my own payment. Sometimes it makes me feel better to think that I've bought something specific- half a Marine, a wash job on half oif one face of the Washington Monument, something like that.
This year is a little different. One reason is that, for the first time, I've had to write a used car sized check to cover the difference between withholding and actual taxes. Which is a good thing, if momentarily irritating.
Second, the value of the money has declined by about 40% in two years. Infuriating.
Also, the things I've been focussing on as purchases aren't things I'd have bought myself- a month's pay for a Goldman Sachs thief retained by TARP, or fifteen minutes of Secret Service protection for Mrs. Obama in Spain. InfUUUUUriating.
Then I got to thinking about my lifetime taxes, the aggregate.It's a lot.
You know what it bought?
Not once did I hear the march of an occupying army. Never was I (when at home) more than an hour away from fire fighters or police officers who would protect me, even at the risk of their own lives. And ambulance drivers and doctors who would have treated me, without first questioning whether I could pay. I never saw servants of my government turn me out of my house or take my property without lots of chances to legally protect my rights. Blue lights in the mirror never meant extortion or a beating. If my government turns tyrannical, I can use the same tools for defense against it that I can use to defend myself from private predators. I work in government, and have never been asked to do something wrong. Power companies trust enough in the courts and laws that they will give me electricity on demand and on credit. I can go to a library and get any book ever written for the price of a sandwich, if I can't get it on the government internet in my own house. If I can't work, I might live rough, but I will never starve to death. I've never faced conscription. No warlords. No ethnic cleansing. No streams of refugees. No vanished friends. No midnight knocks on the door for opinions or religion or race, not for me or anyone I knew. No running and hiding when governments change. For most of my life, and maybe still, nuclear weapons were pointed AT MY HOUSE and they never went off.
I spent my taxes on exemption from the ordinary, natural state of mankind.