[Note: This is a cross-post of something I wrote on Google+]
In the past couple of weeks there were some high-profile calls by wealthier people -- Warren Buffet and Matt Damon (the actor), to name two -- to increase taxes on the rich. They *want* to pay more taxes.
My question is this. Why don't you do it yourself?
I mean, set up a 401(c)(3) tax-exempt charity that will accept donations from everyone, rich and not-so-rich alike. Those funds are then taken and distributed as taxes would be.
For example, taxes pay for our schools. There are no shortage of stories where teachers have to provide, out of their own pocket, extra supplies for their classes. Pay for those directly. Pay for school maintenance and repairs. Build buildings. Hell, give bonuses to teachers, administrators and staff as you feel needed. The first $15,000 of a gift to an individual annually is tax-exempt. I don't know one teacher that would refuse a $15k bonus.
A focused, dedicated group of private individuals should easily be able to reduce the needless bureaucracy and do this efficiently.
Don't stop with education. Provide private grants to needy people to subsidize power, heat and food. Build libraries. Set up public wireless networks.
Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. But the idea that government is the only one able to provide these types of services is harmful to society.
In 19th-Century French Philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville's book Democracy in America, the author explores what makes America different from Europe. One of the major points is the plethora of "fraternal societies" where individuals join and do what was once the function of only governments in Europe -- actively build and support civil society.
To sum up, it is not necessarily only the government's job to do these things. Fostering the notion that this is the exclusive domain of government is detrimental to a civilized society.