This thoughtful piece by Canada’s former top public servant encapsulates a mindset which which is endemic in North America and which is a major obstacle to effective and fair government.
A somewhat shorter version first appeared in Alberta Views January/February 2015 as Taxes: a Small Price to Pay for Civilization.
About a year ago, my son Jordan, some friends and colleagues and I put together a book on taxes in Canada, Tax Is Not a Four-Letter Word. We had quite different views about how high taxes should be, what kinds of taxes are best, who ought to be taxed more and who less, but one thing we all agreed on: we in Canada, as elsewhere, were having a dangerously distorted conversation on taxes.Taxes had come to be seen as a burden, even a punishment, and so the less the better. We seemed to welcome every new tax cut promise—and just about every politician was offering us just that: more tax cuts, more change in our pockets. But we…
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