“The power to tax is the power to destroy.”
― John Marshall
It is tax day today so I thought today would be a good day to post something I wrote a few weeks ago about taxes.
I did taxes over the weekend. I did my taxes, my kid’s taxes, my mom and dad’s taxes and my mother-in-law’s taxes.
There was a moment in doing all these taxes that stuck with me and I wanted to write about it.
I’m not going to get political in this piece, probably never will in this blog.
Politics are a good way to alienate people and that’s the last thing that I want to do. I have my political beliefs but like religion they are mine, personal and private. My political beliefs are mine to take into the voting booth, in secrecy. Some inklings of where I stand may slip out but generally I’ll be more philosophical than political.
What I will tell you is that no matter what side of the aisle the politicians are on I subscribe to the fact that they all are tainted. Perhaps some more than others but they get the stink of corruption on them when they walk through the doors of power.
“To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.”
― Thomas Jefferson
I’m not saying they are bad people, it’s just human nature.
Tax time isn’t a very happy time for me. I look at what I make and then what was taken from me before I even had a chance to imagine it in my hands and it upsets me.
So now I’m doing my taxes and guess what, they want even more than what they have already confiscated.
I use Turbo Tax. I’ve used it for at least the last ten years maybe even longer.
If you use it you’ll know that at the top of the screen there is a box that keeps track of your refund or what you owe. It changes as you add in the data. You can add in an expense or income and watch the amount you owe or are owed go up and down accordingly.
At one point while doing my taxes I was entering a small amount of interest income I had received. It was sixty whole dollars. I know, it put me in that one percent class.
As I entered the sixty dollars I watched what I already owed (I not only have funds withheld from my weekly paycheck I also make quarterly estimated tax payments) go up by eight dollars.
Now eight dollars doesn’t sound like much but imagine this.
“Taxation is theft, purely and simply even though it is theft on a grand and colossal scale which no acknowledged criminals could hope to match. It is a compulsory seizure of the property of the State’s inhabitants, or subjects.”
― Murray N. Rothbard
You just did a gig at a crappy venue where you worked your ass off and the bar owner hands you $60.
You of course gave a performance that was worth at least $600 or maybe $6000, but hey at least you got to gig and covered your gas money.
But now as the owner is placing sixty of those $1 bills into your hand a man with a black suit, white shirt, black tie and dark sunglasses (it’s not Elwood Blues) reaches in and takes $8 off of the top. He reaches right in there, no excuse me or sorry about that,and takes $8 of what you just spent the past four hours or more busting your ass to earn.
He can’t and won’t tell you where it goes or what it’s used for. OK maybe if you’re persistent enough he’ll give you 15 volumes of 1000 page books and let you try to figure it out.
So like that your $60 is now $52.
You could have stopped at the diner on the way home and had a great breakfast but now you go straight home and eat cheese, day old bread and wash it down with some soda.
Eight dollars just ripped from your hands and you can’t do a damn thing about it.
“The fact is that the government, like a highwayman, says to a man: Your money, or your life…The government does not, indeed, waylay a man in a lonely place, spring upon him from the road side and, holding a pistol to his head, proceed to rifle his pockets. But the robbery is none the less a robbery on that account; and it is far more dastardly and shameful. The highwayman takes solely upon himself the responsibility, danger, and crime of his own act. He does not pretend that he has any rightful claim to your money, or that he intends to use it for your own benefit. He does not pretend to be anything but a robber…Furthermore, having taken your money, he leaves you as you wish him to do. He does not persist in following you on the road, against your will; assuming to be your rightful ‘sovereign,’ on account of the ‘protection’ he affords you.”
― Lysander Spooner
Yea, yea, yea, you can vote. I have in every primary and general election since 1975 and guess what my taxes still go up.
Every day, month, year the guys in the dark suits still show up in just about every facet of my life and say, “Where’s my cut? You’d better pay up or there will be trouble.” Tony Soprano’s got nothing on these guys. Even when you’re dead they’re still holding you upside down to shake the last penny out of your pockets.
Eight lousy dollars doesn’t seem like much to get upset about but start adding up those few dollars here and there. Then multiply them by days, months and years. It quickly adds up to a lot more than eight lousy dollars.
“This is the history of governments, – one man does something which is to bind another. A man who cannot be acquainted with me, taxes me; looking from afar at me, ordains that a part of my labour shall go to this or that whimsical end, not as I, but as he happens to fancy. Behold the consequence. Of all debts, men are least willing to pay the taxes. What a satire is this on government! Everywhere they think they get their money’s worth, except for these. Hence, the less government we have, the better, – the fewer laws, and the less confided power. The antidote to this abuse of formal Government, is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the principal to supersede the proxy; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government, is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
So save your platitudes about how these guys are trying to help the poor or the rich, the unfortunate or the fortunate, the left or the right.
The guys in the dark suits are helping themselves. It’s their business.
I guess all I can say is “Render unto Caesar……”.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.