What is a tax?

I first saw this image on a calendar that one of my college professors had. It's meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I've met people who have this opinion steadfastly and without humor. Photo credit: www.despair.com

I first saw this image on a calendar that one of my college professors had. It’s meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but I’ve met people who hold this opinion steadfastly and without humor. Photo credit: www.despair.com

Why do we think taxes are bad? Why do we characterize them as unfair, as an immense and crushing burden? Why do we let politicians use taxation rhetoric to influence us?

I have always been confused by the way Americans think about taxes. By living in this country as  citizens, we all agree to contribute money to build roads that facilitate trade, to provide medical care to the poor so that we can curtail the spread of disease, to educate our children so that they can participate effectively in an advanced civilization, and to defend ourselves from invaders. Continue reading