As it happens, I think Americans think about taxes upside down. We think about them in terms of what “the government” takes, not in terms of what we get in return. We would do better to have an honest national conversation about the things we want—how big a military? how big a social safety net? how “free” a public school system? etc.—and then think about the kinds of taxes we wish to pay to fund that system. If we refuse to fund the system we want, then we cut it. If we have to raise taxes to fund the system we want, we raise them.
This won’t happen, of course. Many recipients of government services—schools, water, Medicare, home mortgage deductions, a functioning legal system, and the like—don’t see themselves as beneficiaries of government programs. The talking and screaming heads that shape political discourse today make too much hay by being extremists; actual thought gets drowned out. And interest groups fight hard to create and protect exemptions in the tax code that favor their constituents—whether retired persons, corporations, or, like me, homeowners.-Poiliticalprof (identified only as a professor of politics and government)
...Americans have become utterly convinced that they can have everything they want without sacrifice, while any sacrifices (whether in program cuts or higher taxes or both) ought to be borne by others.