Since drilling for petroleum off South Carolina’s shores is clearly risky business, and since the pro-drilling arguments are so transparently self-serving, there can be only one reason it has received high-level political support.

Politicians who base their re-election on never raising taxes are desperate to find sources of revenue for expenditures that even they admit are required. By pandering for so long to no-tax freeloaders, they have nurtured the adolescent, statewide attitude that South Carolina, unlike every other political entity on the planet, can have something for nothing.

That debunked notion is now so thoroughly cemented in the minds of so many of our voters that it has become the 11th Commandment. But there’s no manna from heaven. There’s no free lunch. Boeing and BMW are not riding to the rescue. There’s only tax revenue to maintain and improve our communities and our state.

Nothing dooms South Carolina to 49th place in everything that matters except its unwillingness to part with money for anything but guns and football. One of the secrets of highly successful states is that they are run by adults. These adults persuade constituents that support systems work best when all are willing to pay — and sometimes sacrifice — for the things that add quality to our way of life. Education, health care, infrastructure, public safety, assistance to the disabled, the environment, etc. and dozens of other concerns require thoughtful and adequate budgeting. None of these areas of government responsibility can meet citizens’ needs if they are shortchanged.

Government is evil only if it neglects the needs of its citizens; and the needs of citizens can be met only if everyone pays his fair share. If the word “taxes” makes you feel faint, please check with your physician. Perhaps he has a cure for your irrational reaction to the solution to state problems that grow longer in the tooth year after year.

At this point those problems appear intractable, but they aren’t. Let me amend my earlier sentence: Government is evil if it proposes revenue sources that risk greater harm than benefit to those it governs.

Rational people don’t needlessly risk the things they value most. Drilling offshore violates that rule. Offshore drilling is not a method for raising revenue. On the contrary, it is a tax evasion scheme morphed into a campaign strategy.

Terry Munson

Greenbriar Avenue

Pawleys Island