A few days ago, the Edmond Sun, in Edmond, Oklahoma, ran what I think is an important piece for people to remember:
Look at what we get for our tax dollars
I enjoy preparing my tax returns because I am reminded of all I get for the taxes I pay. The government services bought by the money are large. They include not only the obvious ones such as national defense and national police protection, but also ones that are not so obvious to everyone, such as management of public lands.
Tax dollars provide the money that supports scholars striving to become our next generation of scientists, and much of the money that universities spend on scientific research comes from government coffers. The public sees the big projects, like NASA sending robot explorers to the moon. The public doesn't see much of the research activity that goes on, smaller projects carried out by small laboratories headed by a single faculty member at a university. But those projects are important, both for the results they produce, and for the scientists they train as graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
And so on. It's a good piece, and more importantly, it's a piece and a voice that you almost never see in the news. We see plenty of the bitching about taxes. We rarely see any of the excitement or appreciation about the benefits of government activity.
We're coming up on April 15th, as the closer we get, the louder the news bitching will be about taxes. And, as we all know, there's a lot of coordinated news bitching from the Republican Party. As April gets closer, it seems like a good project for each of us to write an essay about the results of government that we appreciate, and craft a piece to send to our local newspapers or post to our blogs. Do you appreciate something that your taxes pay for? Then don't be quiet about it - publicly voice your approval.