> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note:
> And the education of children; we have been brainwashed into thinking
> that public schools serve a good community purpose; no one wants a
> bunch of ignorant children; after all those children will be our
> country in a few years; so we have to have public schools to insure
> a good education. Are the public schools in New York any different
> than those in Chicago? Somehow I doubt it. So just imagine if our
> overall tax payments were about two percent of what they are now (let's
> refer to it as the 'adminstrative fee' to run what the government
> has the legitimate right to run) and with the rest of the money we
> educated our own children ...
> Would things be any better or worse than they are now,...?
Just because things _are_ the way they are doesn't mean that they
_have to be_ the way they are.
For a counter-example to your pessimism, take a look at Finland, one
of the infamous high-tax (boo! hiss!) 'Nordic welfare states' so
cavalierly disparaged by the wingnuts. Except that ... erm ... Finland
just happens to have the BEST SCHOOLS IN THE WORLD, far far better
than those in the US.
This article from last May by Robert Kaiser of the _Washington Post_
provides a glimpse into how it can be done.
It's not (only) a question of money (but of course it takes money). It's
primarily a question of attitude. And, when it comes to spending money
on something they cannot eat, drink or otherwise immediately consume,
Americans have a very bad attitude. (Before you newbies get on your
high-horse ... I can say this because, as Pat and long-time readers here
know, I am an American -- although I have been living in Finland for a
good few years now.)
Americans don't like to pay taxes and I think it is basically because
they get so little to show for their money. It costs 87 gazillion
dollars for one BX hyper-bomber and when it falls out of the sky no
one gets any benefit except Grumman-Northrup and their political
friends. Certainly not the working people who paid for it.
A man-in-the-street poll here asked the following question:
In order for us to have lower taxes, the government needs to spend
less money. In what area(s) could and should the government spend
Many people were hard pressed to think of an answer and a fair
proportion (I don't remember exactly but I believe it was something
like 1 in 3 or 1 in 4) said 'If the government spends less, then we
get less. So I'm happy paying the taxes that I do'.
Like I said, it's the attitude.