Bernard Shaw reminds readers that because they get nothing tangible for paying taxes, they have no personal consciousness of property, as they do when they pay a sales tax or V.A.T. for furniture or clothes. For the paved, lighted, and policed streets as well as water and sewage, one may, the next time the tax collector arrives, as Shaw puts it, “hear his knock with joy, and welcome him with the beaming face of the willing giver.” Yet, he goes on, “the truth is that Capitalism plunders citizens through the Government and the municipalities and County Councils as effectually as it does through the shopkeeper.” To provide public services, national and local governments buy large quantities of goods from private businesses, which profiteer by charging more than cost. Overcharges are then passed to taxpayers. The joy of taxes, then, if it arrives, may come in the future.

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