I have been to some of the poorest countries on Earth. It scares me how similar their government and ours operates. Also, what is this logic: your life in America sucks, but it could be worse if you were Somalian! How is this an actual comfort or a solution to problems we as a society have? Oden, by your logic you would ensure your kids start off the way you did. How does that feel? I mean, ensure that they had exactly the same resource and were forced to make the same choices, the "worked my ass off , made hard choice and went without". Why? What's the benefit there? Fairness? I'm genuinely asking, here. Also, your perspective discounts how much of success is blind luck. I don't know about your personally, but there have been dozens of forks in the road that I lucked out by taking/not taking (how many times would your life have unravelled differently if you'd had a DUI in college or knocked someone up at 19?). I have to call bullshit on this "I did it all myself" in 2017. John Galt is fictional, and anyone successful needed help, advice, support or protection along the way. That being true does not detract from your success or accomplishments in any way, but there are legions of people that helped make it POSSIBLE. That's how society works. The fact that you didn't die in childhood attests to the fact that we're improving and our society as a whole is working: safer, smarter, healthier as a whole than any time in our history. It's interesting, because in some of the shitholes I've lived in (Honduras, Indonesia for a sample), there WAS free healthcare and free college, or at least dramatically subsidized care/school. I agree it's not about higher taxes, that's a hard sell for anyone. It's about more effective government, ensuring that everyone has a fair shot, regardless of race, parents' wealth, or circumstance. Your "bad choice" is at it's heart condescension. You knew how to put a condom on to avoid getting someone knocked up, you knew what degree was going to pay off and you knew how to go out and find a job. Good! But, how did you know those things? It's likely someone took the time to teach you, or help you distinguish between what's really going to help you and what's bullshit. I know plenty of kids who were told "it doesn't matter what degree" because that's what their parents knew. Or kids who were told condoms are 90% effective, so why bother (thanks, abstinence-only education!). I don't know anyone who's a fan of taxes, but I think if you believe the money you spend in taxes is taken out of your pocket, versus a fair price of admission, you'll be resentful. Your "bad choice" was someone else's "I didn't know any better" or someone else's "I didn't HAVE a choice", and at a certain point they shouldn't be damned to poverty because of it. My last point is that we know we will have to live together. The more we're in it together, the better. This is true for wages (the people who make enough to live on don't depend on government programs and they BUY WHAT YOU SELL), this is true for health (people who are educated take care of themselves) and it's true for people who believe society helped them. Again, the people who actually contribute less than they receive are an incredibly rare minority, and even they (Warren Buffet, for example) would pay higher taxes than they currently pay. It's a far better bargain to pay your fair share at this point in your life and be taken care of later than skimp and have to clean up the fucking mess we are in. Think about the healthcare costs of the obesity epidemic, the ridiculous amount of work it will take to un-fuck our public education mess (the contentious "argument" over evolution, for example), and the effort in re-developing crime-ridden areas. In other words, paying into a fair and equitable system is a far better investment than balking at taxes and then having to spend MORE on healthcare, education and public safety over time.