Our democracy is corrupted when some voters think that they won't have to pay for the benefits their representatives offer them. It is corrupted when some voters see themselves as victims of exploitation by their fellow citizens.
By both standards, American democracy is in trouble. We have the worst of both worlds.
But the politicians' fear of being honest about taxes doesn't change the urgent need to be honest. The average taxpayer is wrong if he believes the affluent aren't paying their fair share—the top income earners carry an extraordinary proportion of the tax burden. High-income earners are wrong, too, about being exploited: Take account of payroll taxes, and low-income people also bear a heavy tax load.
End the payroll tax, end withholding, and these corrosive misapprehensions go away. We will once again be a democracy in which we're all in it together, we all know that we're all paying a share, and we are all aware how much that share is.