In 1948, Tom Delaney wrote a song titled “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die.” If he were alive today, he might pen a sequel titled “Everybody Wants Good Government, But Nobody Wants to Pay.”

When I graduated from college, my dad told me that in the future I would earn more money in a month than he earned in a year. He cautioned me never to complain to him about paying my taxes.

Taxes saved this country from the Great Depression, allowed us to win World War II and paid for the 12 years of education that allowed me to enter college. Taxes supported the University of Maine, where, from 1962 to 1966, tuition for a four-year, 144-credit-hour technical degree cost $1,600.

He told me never to forget this, because my memories of working while in college might make me think of myself as a self-made success. I should remember that taxes made it possible.

I haven’t forgotten. Every spring, I am reminded and willingly contribute to the support of local, state and federal governments that provide necessary services an individual or group of individuals cannot.

I drive roads I cannot maintain, see children go to schools I could not build and feel secure in a community I alone cannot protect.

My dad thought it was a privilege to pay his taxes. A veteran of World War II, he took pride in what his generation accomplished and was willing to pay to preserve it.

Needed now is a generation that is willing to pay for the resurgence of the American Dream by investing in education, infrastructure and research as well as defense. Candidates for president pledging to “veto any and all” tax increases are not showing responsible leadership.

Tom Foley

Cumberland Foreside