(Previously titled: "Why I like Taxes.")
I appreciate living in a "society."
I'm a Democrat, but I happen to like former Republican President and World War II general Dwight D. Eisenhower... because I love the Interstate Highway System, without which, Wal-Mart would not be possible. Ike had it built for transportation that could be used by our forces in case rapid domestic movement was necessary, and it was funded through taxes- but damn if it wasn't one of the greatest economic stimulants in the history of the world. How often do you use an interstate? How often do the businesses you buy products from use them?
[This is a revision of something similar I posted yesterday, but with many edits and tweaks, and a more solid focus]I appreciate fire and police protection, and pay property and sales taxes to support them. The highway patrol (called troopers in OK), are okay, too- even though they've caught me once or twice... The National Weather Service- I love those guys, part of NOAA, which is part of the Dept of Commerce, because they help agriculture and business planning.
I have a fondness for public education and government programs that help people attain educational goals. I went to Norman High School (1988), a public school, with public school teachers. I have a degree from the University of Oklahoma- another public institution. My property, sales and state income taxes (and quite a few dollars from my wallet also paid for them, along with some help from state and federally guaranteed student loans and the GI Bill). None of the teachers or professors I knew are rich, unless they have a rich spouse. (Coincidentally, few of them are Republican, unless they have a rich spouse.)
These are things that a community gathers together to pay for. Sometimes at a local level (fire, police), sometimes at the state level (state highways and patrols), and sometimes at the federal level- because going to Mars costs a shitload, but it's for the betterment of human kind. And also, weather, national infrastructure, ports, air travel regulations (yes, the TSA sucks, but it would be worse if there were none, or if we had less air traffic control in a few states that decided they didn't want to fund it with "their money."
I like the FDA. Having scientists look at foods and drugs before they are released into the market is a good idea. I mean, if we had zero regulation here, and somebody had an incredibly great product and marketing idea (with the drawback that the product killed you after 10 years), we wouldn't know... until 10 years later. In the totally unregulated free market, that would be a good profit, and then you move your money (and yourself) to Switzerland or the Cayman Islands.
I like the EPA for many of the same reasons. It took decades to find out how pollutants were causing cancers, asthma and other diseases. It's also why I like funding new ideas about energy (wind, solar, geothermal, hydrogen, even some nuclear), but not old ideas that are already making gazillions (petroleum).
As a veteran, I'm also extremely grateful for our military, which could not function without taxes. There are many arguments that can be made for how we've used our military in recent decades, but few doubt the need for our troops. And I am a fierce protector and fighter for ensuring that the United States of America lives up to the promises we gave to each and every fighting man and woman who ever served. Educational benefits, retirement, disability, family benefits... they promised "to support and defend" our Constitution and Nation, with their life and limb, if necessary. In return, we promised certain things, as well. We can never go back on this contract.
There are many other parts of our "United States" concept that I love, from our awesome National Parks, to our respect for individual liberty... But I don't mind taxes ... when our society's money is used for things that help provide for things we all definitely use (highways, fire, police), and a safety net that most of us eventually need. Taxes also provide for our "common defense," and help ensure safer food and drugs and travel.
I will concede this: How our tax money is spent needs more oversight and transparency... but that would require more spending to "oversee" it. Republicans won't allow that to be paid for. by gov't dollars. Pork isn't partisan, but one side is definitely against instituting new rules that would include oversight.