I really liked this post on TPM Café about the virtues of taxes:
The Republican mantra -- "shrink government and lower taxes" -- is fundamentally dishonest. They want us to believe that we are heavily taxed by an oppressive government and get nothing in return.
The truth is, our quality of life is far safer and more convenient because of government ordinances, regulations and inspections. Follow me through a typical day and I'll show you what I mean. Government services and regulations may seem invisible, but they’re everywhere you look. Read the rest here.
You can substitute Conservative for Republican and the point remains the same. The political right is constantly promoting what amounts to an illusion: that ordinary people can increase their real income via tax cuts. It is a key part of Harper's message. The centre and left ought to be far more aggressive in attacking this fallacy. At its core, the conservative message on taxes is fundamentally dishonest; whatever the case for a particular tax cut, there is a real price to pay.