Why Do Americans Say They Pay Their Taxes?

The IRS Oversight Board has released the results of their latest “Taxpayer Attitude Survey.” The numbers haven’t changed much since .

Here’s a bit of data that people encouraging tax resistance might find helpful:

How much influence does each of the following factors have on whether you report and pay your taxes honestly?
FactorA great deal of influenceSomewhat of an influenceVery little influenceNot at all an influenceDon’t know/No response
Fear of an audit35%26%14%21%4%
Belief that your neighbors are reporting and paying honestly20%23%16%36%5%
3rd parties reporting your income (e.g., wages, interest, dividends to the IRS40%27%12%17%3%
Your personal integrity76%15%4%3%3%

I’ve added Herald of Freedom to The Picket Line’s collection of Thoreau’s political writings. The essay comes from early in his writing career and praises Nathaniel P. Rogers who was editor of Herald of Freedom, the journal of the New England Anti-Slavery Society.

Rogers, like Thoreau, was an individualist who distrusted group action and organized reform groups, and he ran a very anti-hierarchical ship. Shortly after this essay appeared, he was kicked out of his editor’s chair for failure to get with William Lloyd Garrison’s more structured program, and he started his own paper. I suspect that Thoreau, who also resisted joining organized abolitionist groups, although his sympathies were radically abolitionist, was taking sides and trying to bolster Rogers’s reputation.

This essay is fairly short, but was still a bit of a chore to wrap my mind around. It is dense with obscure references to things like the Hutchinson Family Singers, Moses Norris, George Benson, Samuel Fessenden, Abby Folsom, Father Lamson, the Comeouter movement, “Carolina” Hayne, William Bassett, and the Princeton disaster. Any of those ring a bell to you? They didn’t to me. I’ve gone hunting on-line to find some scraps about these things, and have filled in some Wikipedia stubs and linked to them from the essay so it’ll be easier for the next person who struggles through it.