- The duties of the government of a country.
- Much money is needed by the government to carry on its work.
- As the work is for the benefit of public, the public must find money.
- So taxation necessary and justified.
Every country must have a government of some sort, or life would be impossible. The primary duties of a government are to protect the life property of the citizens, to maintain law and order, to settle disputes between citizens in a just and orderly way through the law courts, to make and maintain the roads and highways, and to defend the country from foreign foes. Besides all this, many governments maintain and direct education, provide hospitals for the sick, and attend to sanitation.
Now all these great public duties need money. An army and navy have to be kept up; the police force and the judges have to be paid; schools have to be provided and teachers supported; expert health officers and sanitary engineers employed. The big government departments, that have to oversee the work of the army of officials employed, cost a lot to maintain. Besides all this, grants are expected from the government for big and necessary public improvements, such as the better housing of the poor, open spaces in towns for recreation, large public buildings, railways, bridges, and so on. Whether these expenses are borne by the central government or local bodies, like town councils, money is needed for them all.
Where is all the money needed for these public services to come from? That question is answered by another, namely “For whose benefit are all these services maintained?” The answer is for the public. It is the people as a whole, rich and poor, that benefit by security of life and property, by sound administration of justice, by the maintenance of roads and bridges, by the public hospitals, public schools, and good sanitation. Therefore it is only right and fair that the public, the individual citizens, should contribute the money needed; for the money they give in rates and taxes comes back to them in the shape of these benefits which all enjoy.
This should be a sufficient answer to those who grumble at having to pay taxes to government. Of course nobody likes paying taxes. Even those who know that taxation is necessary and just, do not exactly welcome the tax-collector as a bosom friend. But, so long as we have a good and efficient government, so long as our money is being used in the right way and so long as the burden of taxation is distributed fairly, as different classes can bear it, we have no right to grumble at having to pay our share of the taxes.