Taxophobia and Its Solutions
Hall, From the Left
No one is fond of taxes--except perhaps CPAs. In Sartre's ideal
world, he would pay no taxes at all, but continue to travel on public roads on cheap gasoline purchased from the Middle East
and Europe and protected from pirates by the publicly financed Coast Guard and Navy. His inexpensive car, made by employees
trained in public schools, would be protected from highwaymen by publicly trained and paid policemen. He would have
publicly financed and trained doctors and nurses for his health checkups, and he would rely on publicly trained and financed
ambulance drivers (and ambulances) and hospitals equipped with emergency rooms. A publicly trained fire department and
police would respond to his home emergencies for free. He and his neighbors would enjoy electricity and water and garbage
pickup provided by publicly financed vendors. He would live without fear of foreign invasion because of a public Department
of Defense. When our Taxless Sartre became bored, he would go to his publicly supported library to check out a book,
attend a play or opera or orchestra in his publicly supported arts program, or watch television on publicly regulated channels.
Unfortunately, Sartre doesn't have that choice. He must pay taxes like
everyone else. The upshot, though, is that he gets to live in a world that taxes create. He can travel and communicate
though a road-rail-airways infrastructure created by taxes, use inventions like Velcro and Teflon, radars, computers--this
Internet--and advanced aircraft developed by taxes, make use of satellite communication and early warning weather created
by taxes. He'll eat clean food and drink clean water guaranteed by tax-based systems of waterworks and inspections.
His business contracts will be honored or else he can challenge them using a legal/court system created by taxes. His wealth
and property are protected from arbitrary confiscation by well-armed bullies or warlords.
Undoubtedly he would dispute the last. For people like Sartre,
"government" has become the bully, the warlord in their minds. They deny that paying taxes is their obligation as citizens--as
"free men," they live obligation-less lives. They owe their country nothing. They would prefer to live as barnacles
on a ship, attached to the safe superstructure, feeding on the food rich currents it generates, but contributing nothing but
a slight drag to the ship's course and speed.
They should be scraped off our hull, instead, and sent to places where
there is no official "tax burden." Places like Somalia and Afghanistan, where there are no taxes, but also no infrastructure,
no education, no sanitation, and no peace except for that provided by high walls and armed guards. Sartre would then
be truly "free," though he might find the opportunities available to him drastically limited and the line between life and
death as sharp as a knife's blade.
The reality that Sartre and his fellow would-be freeloaders never got
is that freedom isn't free. The founding fathers fought against "taxation without representation," not against taxation in
general. The Constitution provides for taxation for government services, and put in place the architecture to propose
and pass the 16th Amendment, which created the income tax. Despite Sartre's assurance that it doesn't exist, it does--and
you can be sure that Sartre has paid and will continue to pay his income taxes or else is directing his tax revolution from
There are a variety of constitutional ways that taxes are levied--by
State Legislatures and Congress, by local counties, and by referenda voted on by the public. People opposing their tax
burden have every right to form political parties and associations to fight tax increases--and they do. But they don't
always win. Sometimes the public and their elected officials see the necessity to raise taxes to pay for things they
want government to do. Fight these if you will, Sartre, but recognize that when you lose, you've lost fairly, and don't
claim the process itself is illegitimate. It isn't.
That doesn't mean that all is well with our system of taxation.
One reason many people react sourly to taxes is the way they are manipulated by Congress. Because of their need for campaign
contributions, elected officials are frequently ease the tax burdens of the wealthy and of corporations for quid pro quo.
US corporations in particular, with their massive donations to politicians of both parties, are so favored that many pay no
taxes at all--like Enron in four of the last five years. The European Union recently ruled that because of our tax system,
US corporations have an unfair competitive advantage over European corporations who can't get out of paying taxes.
Undoubtedly changes are needed to make the tax system more fair.
A tax system that connected taxes or user fees to bills requiring expenses would be more rational. Instead of talking
in general about raising or lowering taxes, we could instead talk of raising taxes or user fees for National Parks, raising
gas taxes to build more roads, or lowering taxes by dropping the National Missile Defense program or closing obsolete military
bases. But Congress, which passes bills and has the power, apparently doesn't want such a rational system in place.
Meanwhile, Brother Sartre has his options--he can pay his taxes and work
to change the system, or he can refuse to pay, which requires going to jail or leaving the country. Bon Voyage, Sartre!
Send me a card from Kandahar, a message from Mogadishu.
Sit down everybody: Sartre admits that a government requires taxes.
That in itself is cause for pause. But wait, there's more. "The debate should analyze when enough is enough." I thought
that's what our national politics was all about. Isn't it a function of political parties to set their agendas, campaign
for seats in our legislatures, state and national, and appropriate funds for government based on the public's desires?
Or for the executive branches, state and local, to set the sort of government budget that meets popular approval?
Sartre is sore because the voting public has decided that "enough"
is more than he wants to spend. That being the case, it's up to him and those who think like him to convince the rest
of us that he's right. We're still waiting for that convincing argument, brother Sartre.
The system mostly works. Where it fails is in its honesty.
Politicians talk about taxes and programs as though they were entirely two different things. Just yesterday, President
Bush announced his desire for a $120 billion increase in defense spending over the next five years. But did he announce
a tax increase to pay for it? Of course not--the president has gone on record promoting tax increases "over his dead
body." This means the president promises us either more deficit spending or a battle to cut back on current programs,
"because there's no money for them."
Sartre should save his anger for the "party of less government."
It's obvious that Republicans have no intention on living up to that billing, while we Democrats never promised the sort of
draconian cutbacks that Republicans have talked about for years. And never delivered on.
Honesty demands that we hold our politicians accountable for what
they propose, and insist that each new program be paid for at the time it's proposed and approved. Then we can debate each
one on its cost and its merits, and we won't have to worry if people are "for taxes," or "against taxes." If people
like Sartre desire lower taxes, let them tell us what programs they will cut, what expenses in government they will reduce.
Those who honestly want to reduce or cut taxes must honestly tell us how they'll do it.
James Hall, From the Left
Tax Away Your Dreams
We all know Ben Franklin was right! So why worry, just pay up until you
die! The unconstitutionality of the 16th amendment has long been established. The annals of imposing taxes goes back before
the first shekel circulated. All governments do it, so why get all uptight? If you want to do something about it, never miss
an opportunity to attend an Irwin Schiff seminar!
So what are the highlights of the American version of this age old thievery?
The Fairy Tale of Taxation is a good start. And the original articles of the U.S. Constitution would certainly shed some light
on the legal claim for legitimate taxation. But these elements bore most people. Their response is always, what can we do
So we will leave the debate on the lawfulness of taxation for the brave
of heart, and concentrate upon the ordinary level that most can people relate, within their own experience. What amount of
their incomes really goes to pay for the support of all forms of government services and expenses? Is it 30%, or does it come
in at 40% or is it really possible that to exceeds 50%? If you are one of the fortunate ones to be rich, that burden could
top 70 or 80%. You say ridiculous, no one pays anywhere near those kinds of percentages. But before you dismiss this as a
frivolous claim consider the following.
You pay the familiar ones, like federal and state taxes. But you also
pay property tax to the local school district, town and county. Even if you rent, you are contributing indirectly. There are
those additional fees to support the local library, fire and emergency services. Don't forget that Social Security contribution!
And no doubt your state has a sales tax, and maybe a city tax. But it doesn't stop there.
How about all those other fees that just keep adding up. Telephone, cell
phones and those long distance charges. There is the car registration, and all those gas taxes. How about those energy fees?
Fuel oil, electric and natural gas, not to mention the fumes that burn from your boat and other pleasure crafts. OK, you heard
all this before, but have you ever considered the other taxes that seem to fall through the cracks?
Indirect and excise taxes are all too often hidden from direct view but
consume a Huge portion of the national economy. Banking, insurance and professional services all have hidden costs that go
to the taxman. Entertainment is a wonderful source of add on tax. Rental cars, hotel rooms, vacation tours and cruises can
bury those charges deep within those bargain rates.
And we all have to eat, wear clothes and most get sick. Food and beverage,
and medicine costs only seem to be exempt, until you look a little closer. It all keeps going on and on and on . . . So how
much is too much for you to pay?
It seems that the sky is the limit for most. They keep paying and paying,
and maybe someday it may strike them that there is nothing left for them and that they are in hock to the banks for more than
they will ever be able to pay back. So far this is a simple and sad tale, but it is all true. No need to argue the unconstitutionality
of the current income tax, or the wisdom of the alternatives: the flat tax, VATS or the pure consumption tax. Who in there
right mind would ever think the government will give up this racket and allow you enough of your own money to live on?
Well the answer is clear, the State will take care of your needs now
that you proved that you are unable to pay for a decent life out of your earnings. They will give you prescription drugs -
it won't cost you anything! They will give your kids a break on college, it will be made a right. And they will give you peace
and security, for just a few billion more for this and that. Before you know it we will need a trillion more just to keep
the trains running on time . . .
So why don't we all just accept this plight and adopt the logical conclusion
- our incremental and progressive 'sugar daddy' needs all our help to keep doing all these good works. Let's just accept our
fate and volunteer for jail or reserve our own padded room in the sanitarium? We will get much better care if we allow the
professionals to dole out our subsistence, and the best way we can get the care we need is in the institution!
Maybe we have not taken the 'vow of poverty', just yet; but we sure are
on the road to learn how it works before we take the pledge. It seems ridiculous, all these political theories and tax protests
ideas, we are really better off then we could ever imagine. Now I'm beginning to see why so many are so content to accept
this fabulous system. Taking those marvelous little pills from the public nurse has made all the difference. We don't pay
too much in taxes, we aren't paying enough!
The 'bad seed' is right all along! His way is so much better . . .
James Hall aka SARTRE
As the Gipper would say: "Here we go again" . . . Abolishing all taxes
has never been the issue, nor is the elimination of truly vital community functions. The perverse infatuation that government
can best micro-manage society is psychotic. The debate simply should analyze when enough is enough and how can legitimate
revenue be raised without imposing a social design for on high. The entire concept of deductions, incentives and penalties;
that is the heart of the federal income tax code, is based upon the improper practice that government should have the ability
to control taxpayer behavior.
What justification is there for establishing official conduct standards
that only benefit the State, while inflicting severe restrictions upon individual citizens? The consumption tax model, with
exemptions for the essentials of life, is the alternative to the tyranny of the IRS. User fees properly places the burden
to finance upon those who use the services. Excise and tariffs fees allow for protecting American industries and jobs, while
providing revenue from all businesses that are not domiciled in the U.S.
Isn't it so typical that the Liberal mindset must revert to pretentious
calls to vote out the rascals if you don't like the current tax labyrinth when the entire system of 'people control', is the
real agenda for the Statist. When they call for: "Undoubtedly changes are needed to make the tax system more fair", it is
a veiled attempt to burden the productive creators so that the free loader can be MADE equal, by the government.
The last resort for the Byzantine Bureaucratic is "love it or leave it",
when the real solution is to tar and feather the collectivists and run them out of town on a rail.
When you loose the ability to choose, your precious social engineering
only remodels the capacities of the State to determine what kind of life the citizen is allowed to live.
Since you reject the 'dark side' of SARTRE, we will just have to make
the clear distinction between the parasitic culture that you represent and a model that respects the dignity of the individual.
The obligation of the citizen is to reform, resist and revolt when a despotism seeks to destroy Liberty and freedom. We will
pay our own way, but refuse to subsidize the degeneration that leeches exact. For the record, if you don't have any income,
you don't owe any income tax . . .
James Hall - 'The Right'