General, International Development, Opinion

The evil that are taxes… Or are they?

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Before you call 1-800-KILL-HER, do give me a chance to explain myself. If I don’t end up surprising you, then I’ll dial the number myself.

I’m not saying that taxes are easy to pay; I’ll be the first to admit that seeing, right beside the money that should be going into my bank account, the amount that goes into the government’s account, is a little hard (especially with the MasterCard bill waiting to be paid off). Neither am I saying that the current system, in which an important portion of the taxes that we pay is wasted in needless bureaucratic waltzes or is used to pay for ridiculously expensive “work” suppers, is a good one.

However there are good uses of our taxes, and I’m not only talking about helping the poor through a strong social support system, healing the sick in a publicly funded health system or educating our children in public schools. For example, did you know that the French government’s Air Tax will help purchase drugs to treat HIV as well as fund health and development programs around the world? This includes funding the development of drugs to treat diseases that children living in developing countries suffer from, the same diseases that research and development in big pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer and Merck won’t touch because the potential revenues are considered too low.

I highly doubt people like you and I would resent paying taxes if we knew that every penny was going towards such worthy causes. So maybe the debate shouldn’t be if we should pay taxes, but rather how much can we willingly contribute and how can we ensure that funds are used correctly?

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