Taxed to Death
Taxed to Death BY BRIAN MAHER for Daily Reckoning
It is the ides of April… April 15… Tax Day.
That is, the date by which Americans must appear before the Internal Revenue Service… and empty their pockets.
Out must come poker winnings, bingo jackpots, lemonade stand sales, cash gratuities — everything, A through Z.
If taxes are the price to pay for civilization — as Justice O. W. Holmes babbled in 1904 — we must conclude the United States is a very high and advanced civilization.
Washington hauls aboard some $3.5 trillion in tax revenue each year.
And the United States tax code bulges to over 7 million words… or several times the size of King James’ Bible.
Mixing in state and local levies…
We discover the average American sweats and huffs nearly four months of the 12 to work off all federal, state and local taxes.
This year’s “Tax Freedom Day” falls tomorrow — April 16.
Medieval Serfs Paid Lower Taxes than “Free” Americans
A medieval serf, incidentally, was generally tapped 10%.
“One day’s labor in 10” was the prevailing principle.
Today’s American must slave nearly four days in 10… yet he declares himself the freest bird in the history of the world.
Let us compare present tax rates with those of the American Colonies under tax tyrant King George III…
Between 1764 and 1775, American Colonial taxation ran to some 1% of total income — 1%.
Might we renounce United States citizenship, with all the benefits, glories and vanities obtaining therefrom — in exchange for 1% taxes?
The temptation would be vast, it cannot be denied.
Meantime, Harvard grandee Larry Summers informs us that “all Americans will have to pay a little more to support the kind of society they say they want.”
What if we want the kind of society that minds its own business — and keeps its hands out of our pockets?
But Mr. Summers did not consult us.
Then there is the titanic waste of the United States government to consider…
Waste, Waste, Waste
Before the conclusion of the fiscal year, for example, were you aware that the United States Air Force parks planes on tarmacs and run the engines to burn fuel?
If it does not deplete last year’s ration, goes the thinking, it cannot requisition additional fuel for the next. And so it strikes a match to existing supplies as the fiscal year draws close.