Abi Vladeck gets to the heart of a key issue in the Aldermanic race, and exposes what's at stake: Americans all agree that there should be no taxation without representation, but its reverse -- representation without taxation -- should not be tolerated, either. Noblesse oblige is not a democratic virtue. In a democracy, citizens and institutions pay taxes, and their elected leaders should decide how this money will best serve the community. As the biggest landowner and private-sector employer in New Haven, one of the richest institutions in the country, and a world leader in education, Yale should not build tax shelters in order to place itself above this laudable democratic principle. Charitable programs are great, and no one can argue that Yale's programs have not done a lot to fix up New Haven, but the fact remains that they do not empower this community in the same way that taxes would because, unlike taxes, they can be discontinued on a whim. Citizens have the right to expect their governments to provide for the well-being of the community; they should not be required to ask for alms from private interests when they need help.


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