Don’t Drink the Water

In several less developed countries where I lived overseas, we had water systems of our own, not trusting the local supply.

In another place, I would wake in the night and hear the guards making their nightly checks of our yard and gates. In other countries, we lived in guarded compounds.

On the other hand, when we lived in Canada, we lived in an apartment of our choosing, with no extra security. We drank water from the tap.

What causes the difference between the two types of nations?

In too many developing countries, corruption means bribes must be paid for getting anything done. Infrastructure is poor or non-existent, schools are inadequate or not available for the majority of children, the water is contaminated, and armed thugs threaten the general population. Sometimes the armed thugs are the police.

Back in my own country, I don’t have private security. I depend on the local police and/or public emergency vehicles to arrive after an accident, acute illness, or possible crime. I drink the local water. When my children were growing up, I sent them to public schools.

I have never minded paying adequate taxes for these public services. Yet taxes often have a bad name. A campaign promise to never raise taxes or even to cut them is often used to secure votes.

Lately, parents in some states have brought suit in courts to require more adequate funding of public schools. Mental health services are proving woefully inadequate. Bridges need to be repaired. Yet, legislators are elected on promises never to raise taxes.

Meanwhile, some of the wealthy pay little or no taxes. We are told we must bribe them with more tax cuts in order to keep our jobs.

We get what we pay for, including the regulations that protect us with oversight of government functions. We can choose not to pay for adequate health services, drug treatment programs, quality education, clean water, infrastructure, and regulations to protect us from wealthy cabals.

Or, we can go the way of those countries with private security forces, crumbling roads, contaminated water, and healthcare and education only for the wealthy.

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