By David P Shirk
I have yet to meet a person who likes paying taxes. Some people in their sick sense of thinking see it as a duty that they follow without complaint, but they really do not like it. We are told the taxes go to roads, protection, and emergency services – i.e. infrastructure. Like so many others who did not know better, I never even thought about questioning this. I figured that I drive on the roads, so I should pay the toll or whatever to cover the cost of upkeep. I never had use of a cop, medical or fire engine, yet I saw their importance when things went horribly wrong. I never thought about the need for an army as my family had always been self reliant, yet I thought that wars and conflicts happen sometimes so it is nice to have a defense in place.
Ok, I was 18 alright – give me a break. Crack open a balance sheet (federal or local) and see what the real definition of infrastructure is given by your officials. Sure it helps maintain roads – however it also does a darn good job of keeping your politicians liquor cabinet stocked. Yes it goes to help the poor, but somehow always ends up beefing up the size of the sponsoring government program thus making even more people poor and dependant. We have the premier military of the world charged with ‘spreading freedom and democracy’. This modern form of democracy is at its best ensuring that everyone pay more of their hard earnings and give up more and more freedom each day to ensure the military is successful. Guess democracy does not believe in the age old rule of ‘practicing what you preach’.
Government is instituted and condoned on the principle of fixing a problem for a people that they could not solve themselves. Yet in a democracy where the popular guy gets elected, the one elected into office is no smarter than the people who voted for them meaning that the problem will not get solved. Yet a people who are too naïve and blind to see this are easily misled, lied to, and are well…gullible. As more is taken from them, the more they see as needing to be done. Their weapon of choice for making their dreams realized? That’s right – taxes.
I would laugh at the irony if it was not so sickening. Republicans and democrats alike constantly accuse each other (rightly so) of spending more and more money. Both sides run up the deficit like they were racing toward an economic collapse, yet rarely raise income tax. Know why? Because if they raised the taxes on a level that would pay for the programs they pencil into law, then they would have to admit that not only are they lying when they preach how affordable a program is, but also how dumb their voters were for actually believing them. Let’s face it – Obama supporters are all for his promises of rainbows and sunshine because thus far it has not cost them a dime directly out of their paychecks. By giving tax refunds, cash for clunkers etc all in his first year, they will forever hail him as a great president. Well, until the piper comes anyway in which case they will be forced to go back to blaming Bush and saying that McCain would not have been any better (which sadly enough is true in a sense).
Oh yeah, taxes. We are not a socialist country (yet), but Thatcher made the valid point –”The trouble with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” We not only crossed that line long ago, but continued to blithely run on the same destructive course. Being that we live in a nation where Federal law supersedes local (not that most local politicians seem to care either), we are all born with the weight of this debt – you didn’t make the mistake, but your damn well going to be held responsible for it. When our nation’s line of credit goes, we will bear the full burden of this failed system on taxes alone. What a pretty day that will be. Sure a lot of debts will never be called, but the amount that will be charged is not exactly pocket change. If the government remains intact after that happens, they will do what they do best and lie (which is what got us into this mess to begin with).
The tax burden we already carry has gone way above the level of annoying and into the realm of completed madness. I know of no other way to describe it. People believe that the government will save the country, and it does its best to encourage this pipe dream. Think about the tax collecting process itself. First you have to hire people to collect the taxes. Then you need people to enforce the law on those who do not feel like paying into compliance – or pay for their prison stay. Then you need buildings full of book burners who actually know the tax law enough to ensure that everyone paid their fair share. Then you need a liaison to tell the government what the blood suckers take is (which they will promptly ignore anyway). On the side you have a mass of lawyers fighting hard to protect their ill gotten gain. After all is said in done, the IRS cost alone is over a 10 billion a year – .5% of all 2 trillion it collects. And that’s just the first stop your money makes. Keep in mind that the IRS is one of the smaller government entities. Point is – your money has not even got anywhere yet and it already lost .5% of its value.
People think that when the government tells them that the admin cost of any given program is rarely less than 10%, and that 90% eventually finds its way back into the economy. To this I can only laugh. The administrative cost as legally defined does not cover court fees, maintenance, operating costs, collateral damage, and the execution of a law. People assume that the 90% goes to the hurting private citizenry who needs it. The government is more than happy to encourage this as it allows them to constantly grow far beyond any reasonable means. Somehow people are convinced that this is efficient as long as the money is spent in the name of the poison they continually gorge themselves on.
If one examines congressional reports etc, it is a far cry from what the media reports and the politicians spout on TV. In many cases the congressman’s statement on the health of a program or his district is in direct opposition to what the cited report says. In other words transparency exists and always has – people are just so damned lazy and would rather get the media’s take then read the reports themselves. How this disparity is considered by any means to be legal is beyond me. Either way – the failure to admit that our system of taxes has failed (which is why we incur such a huge national debt) seems to be blindly ignored on a monthly (or biweekly) basis whenever people get their paychecks and think their tax dollars are actually working in their favor.
Finally comes the huge moral blow that is struck when national taxes are levied. In a diverse culture there is no way that a central entity can collect taxes and use it in a manner that would please everyone who pays them, and all too often, those who pay the most see the least return. This idea can do nothing more then make pathetic attempts to make everyone equal regardless of their actual merit, and is just plain wrong. In addition we are forced to pay into programs that condone war, a loss of freedom, theft, dependency, and the most faulty education system imaginable. To other nations who are offended by such actions, we are every bit as guilty for their pains as the ones who force it upon them as we enable it all to happen by paying taxes. If we object to such things, we are thrown in jail – so get the idea that we are a free people out of your head because it simply isn’t true.
Can government do good things? Yes it can. How often does government do good things that benefit society? Not so much. Over time its goal of furthering general welfare and defense is twisted into creating a warfare/welfare state, and that never ends well. The sooner people realize this tax enabled nightmare for what it is, the sooner we can do away with it. Our founders knew all this over 240 years ago without the benefits of technology and information sharing – so what the heck is our excuse?