DB, considering you've graduated w/ a business major should know the concept of the tragedy of the commons, and that government MUST intervene economically to preserve public interests. Our highways, healthcare, police, schools, etc. etc. are all covered by taxes, state and federal. It is very sad to see pork barrel projects, like you said, but if there's no pork barrel projects, there can't be new jobs made which the congressmen and representatives can point to say that they did on behalf of their constitutents. It's a political move, but that's not really where the majority of your taxes go. As for planning, many people planned extensively before the Great Depression, yet their "nest egg" were completely worthless irregardless. There are certain catastrophes and economic shifts that can destroy even the best-laid plan, DB. I'm not saying that people shouldn't plan, but one must also be considerate that there are events and actions that are devastating and beyond people's imagination to plan. Now, let's take a "what-if" look if there honestly was no taxes other than tarriffs and government provides only basic services such as defense, and oh, say common currency (Not sure what else you would deem "basic" services, so you'll need to probably clarify that later): You would have to insure your workers completely since HMOs are free to be monopolistic and charge sky high as well as larger pensions due to lack of Social Security, pay them higher wages due to lack of food subsidies from govt., pay additional for transportation due to badly kept roads since the government can't pay for it, and so on and so on. These are a few examples I can think of when I hear basic services; we live in a VERY high living standard society precisely because of how much we're paying for it. Socially, it also prevents from the gap of the haves and have-nots from reaching revolutionary levels (a little Marx here, but he's got a point about revolution if there's nothing to lose). The European countries and Canada pay high taxes too, but you wouldn't hear them wanting to cut taxes since they want both a high degree of standard of living and safety net (and yes, I understand the opposition charge of that being the reason why their economies are stagnant).