Is it My ‘Civic Duty’ to Pay for Other People’s Stuff?
When John Harrison was a senior at Druid Hills High School in DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, he was miffed when he was rebuffed by parents at a private school when they refused to purchase a discount coupon for Domino’s Pizza. The money was to go to his public school’s art program. They told him, “We already contribute through taxes, and we pay for our children to go to school, so why don’t you hit up your own parents?” A little harsh, if it was really said that way, but right on the money nevertheless. Ann Coulter couldn’t have said it any better.
Young Mr. Harrison was “shocked and appalled” at the curt response he received. Well, I was shocked and appalled, but not surprised, at what I read next from the naïve public school senior who doesn’t own a home or pay very much in taxes and is on the domestic dole of his parents:
Paying taxes is a civic duty, and these people were arrogant enough to view their taxes as a contribution, not a responsibility.
Excuse me? Paying taxes may be a civic duty, but that doesn’t answer the question as to what things taxes should be collected to fund. My property is taxed to pay for the education of other people’s children. I don’t consider that a “civic duty.” I consider school taxes as a way to promote the government status quo. Public (government) schools promote government.
Let’s suppose that a majority of people decide that cars, food, clothing, and houses, like education, are necessities that should be funded through taxation. In fact, a case can certainly be made that food and clothing are more important than a formal education. And if you don’t have a car, it’s not easy to get a job. I should have added a phone to the list. Without a phone, how will you get a prospective employer to let you know that the job is yours? Would it be my “civic duty” to pay taxes to fund these newly established rights? If not, why not? Of course, there are quite a few people out there who believe people should be taxed to pay for these things.
In Cobb County, $63 million is going to be spent so lap top computers can be given to all teachers and students. Am I being arrogant because I don’t believe it’s my “civic duty” to be taxed so someone else’s child can have a lap top computer? If parents want their children to have a lap top, I suggest that they spend their own money. Better yet, have their children work to earn enough money to make the purchase. If lap tops are so important to a child’s education, then families need to budget enough money to pay for them. Don’t compel me to be responsible for the wants of others and then make me feel guilty for not performing my “civic duty.”
One letter writer, in responding to Mr. Harrison’s guest editorial, described students who attend private schools as “BMW-driving, uniform-wearing, spoiled elitists.” There a number of high tuition private schools in the Atlanta area, but most private schools have relatively low tuition. I’ve seen what students drive at the local government schools. BMWs, Jaguars, and even a few Corvettes come streaming out of the parking lots after school. Are these “spoiled elitists” as well? When we sent our children to non-government schools, my wife and I worked and went without so we could afford it. We drove our cars for nearly ten years. I finally gave up my 1987 Honda Accord after 267,000 miles. Sacrifice was a regular vocabulary word in our house.
Spending someone else’s money is always more profitable than spending your own. Public schools, by their very existence, will assure future generations that socialism will prevail in America. George Orwell could not have said it better: “Paying taxes to educate other people’s children is a civic duty.”