We all criticize taxes and government spending. However, most government spending such as military, FAA, weekly trash pick-up, police protection, clean water to our front door, streets and highways, state, city and county government, inspected food and drugs are good for all.
Let’s look at only one of these tax-funded entities. Street and highways, that take us to work, shopping, to see grandmother on Thanksgiving, or a driving vacation out west. We could not function without these tax paid for highways.
Our family drove to California in the late 1940s. This was before the interstate highway system was created by President Eisenhower as a means to move large military contingents quickly from coast to coast. We traveled Route 66 from Oklahoma City to Barstow, California. Route 66, “The Mother Road”, had extended stretches that were not paved. In the desert there were low water crossing which means, the highway follows the natural terrain. These created some breath taking drops when traveling 60 miles per hour. Dad hit one of them that was full of water and we thought our breath was being taken away permanently.
It seemed that about half of the time we were driving behind a slow moving truck looking for an opportunity to pass. We went down Main Street of every large or small city, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, and not to mention the Tucumcari and Prescott. We ate mostly at mom and pop restaurants, and stayed in small mom and pop travel courts. We stopped at service stations with no restrooms or had an outhouse. Yes, we saw the world’s largest rattlesnake, and the stuffed Jackalope – a jack rabbit with antlers.
Our interstate highways changed all of this. To the consternation of the town fathers, the highway circumvented their cities. Not to worry, the towns and cities soon followed the highway, and in some instances the new highways killed the old downtowns.
At the time some detractors called the interstate highway system a “boondoggle”. The cost to taxpayers was a number that most could not comprehend or fathom.
Without this tax funded “boondoggle”, America would not be the same today. We have fresh fruit and vegetable in every city every day because of the highway system. Walmart moves things from coast to coast daily. Loves can deliver gasoline to any small town on very short notice. Live cattle and hogs can move to packing plants in one day. Crude oil can be hauled to the refinery. Wheat can go from Enid to the Gulf in a half day.
So the question is, was this “boondoggle”, paid for by the taxpayers, a good investment and have we received adequate return for our tax dollars? Where would we be today if each state cobbled together a highway system that may or may not have interfaced with their neighbors and poor states may have made no improvement to our highways?
We should all be government watch dogs. Watching for waste and corruption, but we should all be thankful for great services our governments provide with our tax dollars.