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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Just take it all" (Forum, May 9), David Barnes sees the proposal to have online retailers charge the same sales tax that local merchants do as just another government attempt to add yet another tax. He fears socialism is taking over.

What's he moaning about? Americans are getting value for what they're paying for, and it's for something they want.

The two biggest federal programs are Social Security and Medicare, and so far they're covered by their own payroll taxes, not income tax. Does Barnes want them eliminated? The American people don't.

Almost as big as Social Security is spending for defense and security. We certainly benefit from that.

Most of what we think of as bloated government accounts for only 13 percent of federal outlays — including national parks and public lands, the Environmental Protection Agency, the departments of Agriculture, Justice, Commerce, Education, Transportation, Energy, etc. That's a lot a bang for those bucks, including clean air and safe food and air travel.

If we cut government too much, we'll all suffer. Especially those who can't afford to replace what the government does.

Michael Byrne

Salt Lake City

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