Jun 2, 2009
What if Americans didn't pay their taxes?
USA Today reports that if you add up all the federal debt, each American household now owes $546,668 dollars — up 12 percent or $55,000 from last year. That's four times what each U.S. household owes in car loans, credit cards, mortgages and all other debt combined.
Keep in mind that's the conservative estimate; so what's the number if you take an approach that's not-so-sunshine-and-lollipops? They say we can pay this off with taxes.
But just to give you an idea of how much money this is, here are three possible options to pay it off:
• You could confiscate almost every single cent of GDP for this fiscal year and the next three fiscal years
• Take 54 percent of all corporate revenues and all wages and salaries for the next 10 years
• Take about two out of every three dollars of all wages and salaries paid to U.S. residents over the next 10 years
And things could get worse if the government wants to follow through with its giant progressive plans for health care spending, because there's talk of a national sales tax, which would dump another 25 percent sales tax onto every single thing you buy.
I am not advocating people don't pay their income taxes. But what if — for argument's sake — a million people intentionally didn't pay their taxes?
Right now the IRS is already able to go through over 150 million tax returns and punish those who fail to pay with fines of between 5 and 25 percent and collect about $30 billion in back taxes.
And going forward, the Obama administration is devoting an additional $400 million and 800 people to catch tax cheats. Still, most actual tax evaders don't wind up in jail — they end up as Obama's Cabinet nominees.
But let's just say a million people don't pay — not because they're cheats, but because they believe the principles upon which we are founded have been violated. Just put aside the fact that America's 2.3 million federal, state and local prisoners are already dealing with prisons that are packed 36 percent beyond their rated capacity; in other words, overcrowded.
If you go minimum security, 192-bed prisons, you can house them for a meager $30 billion; or, since these are clearly all right-wing extremists, you put them all in maximum security, 500-bed prisons, for a cost of $100 billion. All in all, it's probably not worth the government's time to toss us all in jail. There's other ways of going off the grid, off the dole, and that is to leave no papertrail. No 1099's or W-2's when you barter or trade for services. People will view these strategies much differently in the days to come.
Gandhi said: "Withholding payment of taxes is one of the quickest methods of overthrowing a government."
And it jives with common sense: Starving them out of trillions of our hard-earned dollars would literally put them out of business.
But do enough Americans have the guts to follow Gandhi's example, in order to save our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren from all this debt?