We all need, use public services

The government shutdown reminds me of a conversation I had with friends on a hike when Congress debated Bush’s tax cuts. We agreed we could use the $600 we’d get, but preferred the government kept it and remained solvent since it wouldn’t even buy a new TV.

We worried about cuts to services for people who could least afford them and as one of my friends said, “Why cut Medicaid and Social Security to pay for tax cuts for rich people?”

We railed on about the notion rich people need tax breaks as incentive when they are already rich. I noticed another hiker hot on our heels. I asked him if his ears were burning. He said he was in favor of the tax cuts and he didn’t need any government services.

To this day I wonder about his comment, especially in context of today’s politics. The man was hiking on a trail constructed on Department of Natural Resources land paid for by tax dollars. He used the outhouse at the trailhead and drove home on roads and freeways, all government services paid for by tax dollars.

Maybe he would rather have hiked off trail and defecated in the woods and four-wheeled home in his Escalade. Yet, the poor man was forced to hike, drive and excrete with the rest of us by what he thought was a confiscatory government. From what I know of Afghanistan and the tax structure there, it sounds like it might be the place for him.

Ken Hansen


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