First is national security; then providing police and fire protection; and universal K-12 education. We need roads, clean water and sewage disposal; a safe food supply, as well as safe and effective medicines; protection from fraud by businesses and banks; a safety net for the misfortunes that come, often without personal fault; Social Security for the elderly; and, most recently, access to health care that does not bankrupt the seriously ill.
These community services, paid for by taxes, are provided by our local, state and national governments. As one who has lived through the 1960s and '70s with its far higher tax rates, I feel my current tax load is light.
Libertarians -- such as Ron Paul and his son Rand; Mike Vasovski, who is running for a U.S. House seat; and some of the Tea Partiers -- may not be interested in paying for much of this list. Democrats are most likely to accept all the items noted, and Republicans are somewhere in the middle. None of what I've listed gets us into the socialism, usually defined as public ownership of business.
How much we consider ourselves as part of a community -- where the weakest are, or are not, simply abandoned -- should guide each of us in the November elections. Other than the very well-off, who of us can be sure we will not, ourselves, hit a really rough spot and need a hand?