Here in New Zealand UNICEF's ambassador is Hayley Westenra, a young popera star. i know people who are allergic to Hayley, but she is rather cute really and yes, i know it isn't real opera and only fit for Mother's Day CD's, but it sounds pleasant enough.
Anyway Hayley shows us how she is a Global Parent for UNICEF, and how she digs wells and buys bicycles and school books for children in the South World. There are some ads on TV.
i also do this Global Parent thing and i give enough regular money to support a village well. So far i am disappointed in my well. In the time i have been sponsoring it, it has never written me a single letter, and it must be about due to go to college by now. However, i persevere because UNICEF seems like nice people and they don't phone me all the time asking for extras like some of the other charities i support. And hopefully the well is far too busy having fun to write to me. So i am proud of my well and my contribution.
i would like to think about paying taxes in the same way. i am quite well off. i work overtime, penal rates and statutory holidays and i pay a lot of taxes. i would like to think i am generous with them. The last time i and my family were on a benefit, we got $350 a week.* Now, i support whole families of beneficiaries with my taxes! People who are unable to work, who are sick or elderly. i help! i am a National Parent! And i build roads and hospitals and schools. i rock!
There are other less straight forward things such a rehabilitation for criminals, and conservation, and R&D. There are quite a lot of things i have mixed views on. There are also some things i really don't support, such as junkets for politicians, or administrative waste. It would be quite nicer to have some choice about where my tax dollars go. We could have tick boxes. Certainly taxation is a complicated business.
However, i am not rich enough for taxation to be optional, and i have decided to be thankful for my status as Parent to the Nation. i am rich enough for that.
*This post is someone i know, who when i told him what people got on the unemployment benefit, told me in a jubilant fashion that he spends that much in a day. You should see his shoes!