A recent letter in this forum referred to a presumed difference between Republicans and Democrats as "voluntary charity versus forced charity" ("What is extreme?", March 28). Forced charity is a conservative code word for taxation. But taxes are not charity. They are how we fund necessary government functions, such as defense, infrastructure, air and water quality, the judicial system and some sort of safety net for the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged. Because we have been unwilling to tax at a sufficient level to pay for what both parties agree are necessary expenditures, we have growing debt.
If Republicans were able to leave all these government functions to voluntary charity, we would soon have a vulnerable, crumbling, polluted, crime-ridden and destitute society, because those who reap the greatest rewards from our economic system are unfortunately the least charitable.
If Republicans truly want to bridge the gap in their party philosophy between reality and rhetoric, they need to stop using irresponsible terms like "forced charity" and start recognizing that government is not evil. It may be inefficient in some ways, but it is necessary, and they should stop refusing to fund what they have already agreed are necessary expenses.
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