The basic concept behind taxes, the real reason no one is ever told, is that governments can spend your money better than you can spend your money. As with every lie, of course, there is a skin of truth in that malevolent concept.
The average citizen cannot, and has no desire to, collect garbage, deliver mail, incarcerate and feed criminals, or establish and maintain a military. Those and other necessary government functions require taxes and, indeed, provide citizens with safe and comfortable existences. That is how it should be -- and was.
Lord Acton correctly said, Power corrupts and absolute corrupts absolutely. Once politicians discovered, however, (and it didn't take them long) that paying out larger and larger amounts of the public treasury would raise their re-election possibilities, the hemorrhaging began.
Please allow me to use a deck of cards, something most of us can relate to, to demonstrate the growth of taxes during my short lifetime.
My parents were taxed both black aces from their deck of cards. That low rate allowed my mother to stay home and raise her children. My dad never made $14,000 a year and yet he lived in (and owned) a comfortable home, put two sons through college, bought new cars every five years or so, and went out to restaurants with his bride about once a week. But those days are definitely gone.
My generation was taxed all of the face cards. Life was a little tougher. Wives needed to help out, kids were raised by others, and our wonderful government stepped in to assist in resolving a problem that it created.
Today, American governments (local, state, and federal) take all of the spades and nearly all of the clubs. In reality, our federal government annually spends two plus decks and plays with the numbers to prevent panic.
But future panic is certain. Greece is coming to America. I fully expect the government to take our guns away from us because they see the writing on the wall.
My advice to my grandchildren is the same advice my German great-great grandfather gave to his children. With a tear, I'm sure, he told his kids to change countries, to leave home. If you are under 30 years of age, it is the only sensible thing to do. Get out before our police state sinks their hooks into your flesh and sucks the marrow out of your bones.
If you are older than 30 and wish to stay, understand that you will fully comprehend Bette Davis' quote from the movie, All About Eve. Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a bumpy night.
How do we fix the mess? It can't be fixed.
Walt Osterman is the author of Not Home Yet: A Tale Concerning Israel's Rebirth. He served in Vietnam and is a Bronze Star recipient. He lives in Wyoming.