Another year, another April 15 when the government gouges us to the bone. The excuse often given is Oliver Wendell Jr.’s “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.” Except history shows taxes and inversely proportional to civilization.
Back before 1913, when the dreaded income tax first was imposed (except for during the Civil War), America was far more civilized than today, when it’s hardly civilized at all.
For the middle class, combined federal and state income tax rates now lodge between 40 percent and 50 percent of income, depending on deductions and the level of cheating. Add the hidden tax of inflation – caused by that other tyrannical imposition of 1913, the Federal Reserve Board. Then add on top of that the 79,000 pages of regulations in the Federal Register. Why, government control of our lives – its taxation on our very living – gouges us somewhere around 80 percent.
I’m mindful of Dr. Johnson’s 1775 pamphlet, “Taxation No Tyranny: An Answer to the Resolutions and Address of the American Subjects.” As the Americans were getting ready to bolt from the Motherland, he pointed out they got a pretty good deal for their tax dollars; the Stamp Act had been repealed; and if they didn’t like taxation without representation, they could move to England.
Quaint thoughts. If all I had to pay were the taxes of 1775, I’d forget about taxation without representation and throw out my pundit’s pen as well. The British monarchy today is a bunch of eco-socialists, so I propose making one of our Indian chiefs our monarch, provided he 1) gets rid of the income tax and 2) scalps anyone who tries to re-impose it.
All taxation with representation means today is plebiscites confirming that the tax rate – combined, as I calculated above – should be 81 percent under Democrats or 79 percent under Republicans. The two parties con voters in different ways.
Democrats insist raising the rate to 81 percent will “invest” in our future and bring bountiful new government services to the poor, the elderly, the sick, the halt, the blind, the sufferers of the heartbreak of psoriasis. Republicans maintain that cutting the “confiscatory” 81 percent rate to 79 percent will spark economic growth beyond the dreams of avarice – and will fund all the new big government programs the small-government GOP says we need, such as more wars.
I don’t have any tattoos. But I’m thinking of getting tattoos of shackles around my wrists. It’s called reality.
John C. Seiler, Jr., writes from California.