Over the past generation, we've heard over and over again about how people pay too much in taxes, how it cripples the economy and productivity, and how in a free society we ought to be able to spend our money how we want.
I think it's time, as we enter into serious discussions about the role and scope of government for a new era, that we turn this argument on it's head. Let's get real about what we want government to do, the services we expect it to perform (libraries? public schools? parks? police? firefighters and emergency responders?), and figure out how to pay for it. There are no doubt extras we don't need and efficiencies to be found, but I think most folks would like government's role to be what it has been, for the most part: creating the infrastructure and context in which people of all means and backgrounds can have great opportunity to live fulfilling lives. If we are going to do this, we must realize that it's time to pay for it... and that all of us get much more for our taxes than anyone would care to admit.