George V. Reilly

Tax Day


I like paying taxes. With them I buy civ­i­liza­tion.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

The accountant completed our return last night. Usually we have something of a rebate, so the amount that we owed came as an unwelcome surprise. It’s paid now. Bah!

I pay taxes willing enough, but “like” is too strong. We cannot run a complex society without taxes. There are many functions that the vaunted free market performs poorly if at all: roads, sewers, schools, police, health care, education, defense, emer­gen­cies. The profit motive is at odds with providing good, dis­pas­sion­ate service. Government doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly do it well either, especially when it’s run by people who are ide­o­log­i­cal­ly opposed to taxes. Vide Katrina.

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