“Why pay taxes?” asked Fred Phillips, who owes more than $2,600 on his home on an east-side block where five owners paid 2011 taxes. “Why should I send them taxes when they aren’t supplying services? It is sickening. … Every time I see the tax bill come, I think about the times we called and nobody came.”

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This subject of profits raises an interesting question: is there ever such a thing as obscene profits? After all, profit is the goal of corporations, not an accidental by-product of their existence. What do oil companies do with their profits? They look for more oil. They refine their techniques to make the process of finding and extracting their commodity more efficient and environmentally safer. They create more jobs. And they pay their investors dividends out of their profits. Nothing obscene about that …

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