John Stossel replies in a way that makes so much sense, it's crazy no one has condemned the outrageous spending already. "But my children shouldn't have to pay for them. If people want to live in remote areas of Alaska, why can't they pay for their own sewers and water, through state or local taxes, or better yet, through private businesses?" EXACTLY! When the Milwaukee Brewers decided to build a new stadium for $400+ million, they sought private businesses to take up costs via the purchase of naming rights, and the rest was funded through a 0.1% hike in sales taxes for surrounding counties.
It's funny that no one ever realizes how long it took for income taxes to actually be necessary or even considered. For one thing, they were originally deemed unconstitutional due to Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution which states:
No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.Unfortunately, there came a time in 1913 when Congress was able to convince everyone that an income tax would only affect the rich and thus gained support amongst many state legislatures (especially in the South). On February 12, 1913, a date the authors of the FairTax Book say shall live in infamy along with December 7, 1941 and September 11, 2001, the Sixteenth Amendment was ratified and the income tax was born.
This should cause many to wonder, how did the government raise revenues before that? Well, by restraining themselves and not spending more than was economically efficient, they were able to make due by simple tariffs and taxes on tobacco and booze. In times of war, a small consumption tax was levied, but the public's patriotism took hold and they saw the necessity of raising the extra funds to protect their self-interests at home.
Nevertheless, once we opened the proverbial "can of worms" there was no going back. In the past nine decades, through countless additions and new taxes and reforms to squeeze more money out of whomever could pay, government spending has shot through the roof, out of the atmosphere, and blown straight on out the galaxy. There's an old saying that says it's easy to spend money when it's not yours. We've witnessed this more and more in the past half a century.
However, to get back to the real point, once the income tax started bringing in all this new revenue, the age of pork was born. With all this money came new ideas of how and where to spend it. Today we see what happens when politicians with people to please get a little extra cash to help them do so. Forget taxing these poor souls who live in the cold, frozen Alaska countryside, that's out of the question. But hey, why not just spend a few million of the federal tax revenue on these unfortunate people?
Well, how about because they made the personal choice to live in an area with few amenities. If they want to improve their living conditions, they can pay for it themselves. If I wanted to buy a house with no indoor plumbing, would it be sensible to cry to my congressman to get a few thousand dollars and have that installed? You bet your ass it's not. And to ask the American people to pay for an extravagant, and ultimately USELESS bridge is just ridiculous. As one of the residents of Ketchikan, the island at one end of the aforementioned bridge, claims, "Short view is, I don't see a need for it. The long view ... I still don't see a need for it."
Simple answer to a complex problem. But as they say, the most complicated problems tend to have the simplest solutions. In this case, STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY ON USELESS PROJECTS!