October 8, 2013
Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr is reported to have said, now famously:
“I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”
Taxes aren’t the only way to pay for civilization, of course: community groups, charities, and churches also contribute. But I consider myself a fairly prudent consumer, and I want my money to be used well.
Even excellent charities are inefficient. Take food banks. We have a distribution system that goes from farms to warehouses to grocery stores. Food banks then set up more warehouses and pick-up sites to get sustenance out to those in need, often food that’s already gone down the first chain. It’s far more efficient to give people the means to use the retail distribution network than to create and have them use an alternate system.