I’m reading Jared Diamond’s latest book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and I was struck by this passage regarding forest fires in Montana:
Many homeowners sue the Forest Service if their house burns in a forest fire, or if it burns in a backfire lit by the Forest Service to control a much bigger fire, or if it doesn’t burn but if a forest providing a pretty view from the deck of their house does burn. Yet some Montana homeowners are afflicted with such a rabidly anti-government attitude that they don’t want to pay taxes towards the costs of firefighting, nor to allow government employees onto their land to carry out fire prevention measures.
And I couldn’t help but think of our current public debate over raising taxes to help offset our state’s expanding revenue deficit, or rather, the complete and utter lack of such a debate at all. Nobody likes taxes, but we sure do like the services they buy, and it is simply irresponsible for the governor and the legislature to attempt to balance this budget without even considering targeted tax increases, because, you know… they’re unpopular.