The Times is to be commended for publishing Philip Stephens' enlightening article (Editorial Pages, Aug. 7), "Potholes in Our Tax Philosophy."
Stephens touched on an issue that has been vexing me for a long period of time. We're constantly being told these days we should get government off our backs. This is a favorite cry of the current Administration.
What President Reagan and his advisers fail to acknowledge is that our government is a democratic government. As Stephens pointed out, there's a contrast between the government of King George III, Ferdinand Marcos and our form of government. Our government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.
I don't want potholes on my roads. I don't want potholes in front of my house, down the next block or anywhere else I travel. I'm willing to pay my fair share of taxes to have roads maintained.
I want the nation's children educated. Our democracy rests on an educated populace. This is our greatest defense against any "ism" taking over our nation. I'm willing to pay my share of taxes for decent schools.
I want libraries, and I'm willing to pay taxes for libraries.
I want safety in the workplaces of our nation, and I want adequate inspection of the planes I fly. I want full inspections of the foods I eat. I'm willing to pay for these inspections. Our nation's health depends on these inspections.
I want our national and state parks well staffed with rangers to protect the wildlife and the visitors. I'm willing to pay taxes for this heritage.
When our government is "on our backs" our government (mayors, city councilmen, assemblymen, congressmen, et al.) are carrying out my wishes. They're passing laws at our behest. They're not acting in an arbitrary or capricious manner. They conduct extensive hearings and weigh carefully the laws they pass. The laws are passed for our benefit because we request those laws.
Yes, I want the "government on my back" if this means decent roads, decent schools, adequate housing, safety in the workplace, safe plane flights, adequate police protection and fire protection, a safe environment and the elimination of hazards in our food supplies.
I fear it took a foreigner to make an assessment we natives should have made long ago. We live in a democracy. There's a difference between government on our backs living in a democracy as compared to dictatorial governments in totalitarian societies.
SAMUEL M. ROSEN