Taking Care of Ourselves...and Each Other
April 16, 2009 10:37 AM
There was an anti-tax, anti-government rally at the Capitol yesterday. I saw a guy carrying a sign that said, "I Can Take Care of Myself!"
I'm sure he can. But he probably drove to Madison on streets paid for by Madison taxpayers. He probably parked at a ramp built by the Madison Parking Utility and paid for by his parking fees that were collected and administered by that publicly owned utility. He walked along streets kept clean by the Mall Concourse crew, City of Madison employees. The rally-goers were protected by Madison police officers, who controlled traffic so that everyone could get in and out safely. If the excitement of the rally had caused him to hyperventilate, City of Madison firefighter paramedics would have rushed to help him. After the rally, he may have caught a bite to eat at a restaurant inspected by the Madison and Dane County Health Department, and he probably would have enjoyed the smoke free atmosphere thanks to a Madison ordinance preventing smoking inside the restaurant. And, of course, he and his friends did not rally in the middle of a field; they came to the steps of one of the grandest State Capitol buildings in the entire country, a gleaming symbol of government paid for by tax dollars.
So, I'm delighted the rally took place here. A lot of those folks supported our parking ramps, ate in our restaurants, maybe bought some souvenirs on State Street. A little infusion of cash into the local economy is very welcome right now.
But the idea that government is some foreign entity that just takes our tax dollars without returning services is simply false. Yes, government needs to be efficient - we shouldn't waste money. But - I think like most of us - I believe in a government healthy enough to provide the services we use.