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Letter: Benefiting from government

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I believe in fairness in taxation. Those who benefit the most from government functions should also pay the most in taxes to finance those functions.

But aren't those with lower incomes the main beneficiaries of government? Quite the opposite is true. Contrary to popular mythology, those with higher incomes and greater assets are the primary beneficiaries of government.

For example, increasingly, higher education is the key to higher income. Very few individuals or families could afford the full cost of the 16 or 17 years of education needed to attain a four-year degree, let alone the 19 or 20 years of education to become an attorney.

The cost of such an education is a large investment by taxpayers, through the government, made with expectation that those who benefit from that investment will repay the investment with higher taxes.

Those who own and/or operate businesses are disproportionately large consumers of government services. Those businesses would not be able to operate without police and fire protection; functioning streets, roads, and airports; courts and jails; sewers and water; and schools and colleges.

Generally, the larger the business, the more public services it consumes.

Think how well local businesses would function on the morning after a Minnesota blizzard without government snow removal.

At the most fundamental level government is in the business of protecting people and property.

Those who don't have much, don't have much to lose. Those who have more, have more to lose, and are proportionately more dependent on government services, i.e., police, fire, courts, prisons, national security, bank account insurance, and measures to pull the economy back from the brink when private greed and stupidity have brought it to the brink.

John Burns

Willmar

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