People Grumble on Tax Day, but So Rarely Take Action
Here are some words of wisdom from Anthony Gregory, who wonders whether
anything will come of
the annual Tax
Day grumbling, when “the libertarian side of each wage earner emerges
anomalously like the Groundhog on its day”:
It is notable how little concern there is for the oppressed taxpayer coming
from the progressives, the liberals, and the left. Although they might
complain about poor priorities and busted budgets, few of them attack the
institution of income taxation for what it is: violent exploitation of the
worker by the most monopolistic, immense and predatory corporation to be
found: the national government.
The organized conservatives, for their part, complain about taxes and yet
favor the most extravagant and vulgar spending projects. They are smart
enough about economics to understand the contradiction. They are not really
anti-tax. It was the Republicans who gave America the Income Tax, under
Lincoln and then more permanently through Taft. The
GOP has always been for the big tariff,
too. When push comes to shove, the right has always found ways to make others
pay for its wars and police brutality. Despite the pervasive misconceptions,
Republicans characteristically jump at the chance to raise taxes and
inaugurate new ones, and when they do cut them, the cuts are nearly always
an illusion.… income tax is the price we pay so the Bush administration can
continue to wreck civilization. Here and abroad.
Taxes are not the price of civilization, as Oliver Wendell Holmes once
propagandized. They are not club dues. They are not voluntary payment for
services. They are not payments to ourselves. Pure and simple, they are
exactions under threat of punishment, including incarceration. They are the
chief way that the exploiters exploit the exploited. They are the device
that distinguishes the predators from the productive. They are what divide
the world into tax-payers and tax-consumers.
And that’s just a ha-ha until you add up all of the hours people spend filling
out those forms — six billion hours last year — which
corresponds to an extra cost of over $265 billion (over and above the cost of
paying the taxes in the first place).
That amounts to 22 cents for every dollar collected… And the compliance
burden does not include the costs associated with litigating tax disputes,
the U.S. Tax
Court, or tax planning aimed at minimizing liability.
How’d we get in this mess? It’s a long story, and depending on how far back
you want to go, you might enjoy The
Rocky Road of American Taxation by Charles Adams, which walks us through
the various taxes that irked the American colonials, up through the Boston Tea
Party and then on to the taxes revolts that came after America had cut off the
King — Shay’s Rebellion and Fries Rebellion.
I can’t do this any more. I will no longer pay for war — the murder of
civilians — with my tax dollars.
For more than , I have paid federal
taxes accurately and regularly. I’ve often supported new taxes when the
proceeds would help people. Now I have to stop. Attached is my
tax return that shows I have taxes due. I
won’t be paying them voluntarily.…
The costs of war (past, present, future) now take nearly 50 percent of every
federal tax dollar.
on the military are now more than the military spending of all other countries
in the world combined.
War is no longer a battle of armies. Today it is the policy of our country to
fight an endless war against terrorism — against virtually anyone, anywhere
that political leaders find it expedient to call an enemy.
To be true to my conscience, I have to stop my collaboration with war. I
realize that not all of my taxes go for war; there are many government
services I support. If I could pay only for those, I would gladly do it. But
I know that for every dollar I pay you, you’ll take half to perpetuate war.
So I need to stop altogether. Every year I will calculate my taxes, and I’ll
make sure to provide at least that amount to community groups that provide
human services and that promote peace and non-violence.
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