Jan 30, 2010

Taxation without Representation: TODAY

History is largely the story of men's constant efforts to get the wealth produced by other men, with politics and the state as the main means of acquisition. It's amazing that this ever-present dimension has been so slighted in most history books. Men have fought for power for many reasons, but the strongest has always been their own enrichment. It's hardly too much to say that the story of taxation is the story of mankind.

"Look at the law, and see if it does for one man at the expense of another what it would be a crime for the one to do to the other himself." Wow, think about this statement for a minute or longer until it sinks in.

The government, beyond the strictest limits of justice, becomes "organized plunder," a device by which "everyone seeks to enrich some at the expense of everyone else." Today, Obama and progressives want to take from the rich that have produced so they can redistribute it to those who don't produce. In other words, government itself tends to become the very evil it is supposed to prevent: crime. Government sets the rates, exempts certain people, gives entitlements, creates the intities to spend the tax dollars on and today, it spends the tax revenues of future generations. But it confuses people because it enacts criminal acts under the forms of law. I say, 'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did." So,....
How much is enough? What is the limit? At what point, short of taking 100 per cent of our earnings, do our rulers feel they are taking too much from us?

The obvious answer is that they recognize no limit. The subject never comes up. They view the taxpayer as an inexhaustible resource. As long as people work and have more babies, immigration (legal or otherwise) brings in more workers to tax, people seek to have food, clothing and real property and now, wish to live healthy...then the Gov has a way to impose and create spendable tax revenues to spend.

And why shouldn't they? The sad fact is that the American taxpayer is a remarkably passive creature. He merely grumbles at conditions far more oppressive than the tyranny that drove his ancestors to rebel against British rule in 1776.

One of the chief complaints of the American colonist was that he was taxed without his consent. Yet by today's standards, his taxes were amazingly low. Precise figures are hard to come by, but in 1764, for example, the average American was taxed by the Crown at the rate of sixpence per year. That is not a misprint. Six pennies per year. One penny every two months. Even adjusting for inflation, that is a pretty light tax burden. Today's children pay more than that in sales taxes for candy.

And the British were cautious about raising taxes. Even a slight tax increase, as on a commodity like tea, could bring the colonies to a boil. The Americans knew that a principle was at stake. Unlimited taxation could mean slavery. That is why they tried, at every turn, to nip it in the bud.

Under slogans like "No taxation without representation," Americans fought for independence and established their own governments. They thought self-government was their bulwark against tyranny and overtaxation.

The Lincoln administration imposed the first Federal income tax to meet the costs of the Civil War. But again, by our standards the rates were amazingly low: the basic rate was 3 per cent, with a top rate of 5 per cent. Even so, after the war the U. S. Supreme Court soon ruled that a Federal levy on incomes was unconstitutional.

In 1913 the Federal Government surmounted this obstacle by winning a constitutional amendment authorizing taxes on incomes. No upper limit was set, but most Americans were unaffected. "Incomes" were narrowly defined; an unmarried taxpayer had to make about $50,000 (in today's money) to pay the tax at all; and the top rate, a mere 7 per cent, reached only the very rich. It wasn't until after World War II that most Americans paid income taxes, but then the rates rose to their current punishing levels. And in recent decades most states have imposed income taxes too. Other taxes have also increased at dizzying rates.

At nearly every step, the government has had its way. Taxpayers have mounted only sporadic resistance, in what are often called "tax revolts." The phrase is significant. If our rulers are really our "servants," as self-government implies, why are the wishes of the ruled considered "revolts"? Can we "revolt" against our own servants? Or have they really become our masters?

Corrupt is "Government-run healthcare and car companies, White House coercion, uninvestigated ACORN corruption, bailouts for some banks and closing others, ignoring illegals yet give them 1st priority in HHS handouts, attacks on conservative media and the private sector, jeapordizing the value of the dollar, unprecedented and dangerous new rights for terrorists, requiring intruding questions on US Census, perks for campaign donors – this is Obama's 'ethics' record – and that's just the first year of his presidency." At what point do we shut this all down? At what point does 'treason' kick in?

At what point does taxation become confiscation, theft, and even involuntary servitude? Our rulers -- we may as well say our masters -- never address this point. The Ruler of the universe asks only 10 per cent of our wealth. Our earthly rulers won't settle for such a modest share. They consider us "greedy" for wanting to keep more of our own money; they consider themselves "compassionate" for wanting to take more of it -- 20 per cent, 40 per cent, why not 80 per cent?

Taxation has always been big business, the biggest business of government.
If the politicians had any respect for our rights, our property, our liberty, even our dignity, they would impose taxes only reluctantly, and they would acknowledge some just limit. They would act as if the money they take and spend is *our* money, to be used for the common good of all, and not for buying the votes of special interests and government dependents. In short, they would recognize that taxation is a *moral* issue, not a mere political convenience to be exercised arbitrarily and irresponsibly.

Take just one politician as an example: Taxpayers pay $101,000 for in-flight 'food & booze' on the jet provided to Nancy Pelosi, plus expenses of $2.1 million for her use of Air Force jets for travel just in this first 2 years of her 4 yr term. Sweet girl that she is, she also spends $8,000 per month to florists for "like me now" bouquets, at her discretion.

Only one country has gotten it right: Switzerland. The Swiss have kept their government under control pretty well, in great part because they have had the wisdom to keep the taxing power and the spending power under separate agencies. The U. S. Congress taxes *and* spends. So we lack checks and balances where we most need them. Moreover, the Swiss federal government can't raise taxes without a popular majority, which is usually denied. The Swiss taxpayer, unlike the American, has learned to defend himself.

We can talk a lot about what's wrong, it's time to start focusing on what WE CAN DO to fix it, because nobody else is going to. Short of a RealTeaParty or Shots Heard Around the World, We can hit them where it hurts the most. Pay less taxes. We have to give them only 'one choice' and that is fiscal responsibility. Unemployment has already put a big dent in tax revenues. If the IRS can only send them so many dollars to play with, eventually they will have to come up with tax cuts to stimulate more jobs and a reason for us to even seek one. The more people who become self-reliant by any means and go off the grid financially, the bigger the impact we can make on how things are done in Washington.
(but, that's a whole new topic, so be watching)

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