Wednesday, February 09, 2005

taxing your survival

I just did my taxes.

Now I know no one likes paying taxes but we accept it as one of life's realities. As the old saying goes "...death and taxes"

I don't mind paying taxes so much, but I do resent the income tax. The income tax is a tax on survival. Unless you stand at the freeway offramp with a cardboard sign you will surely find it impossible to survive without an effort put into making a living and earning a wage. This is how the income tax works:

Against your will the federal government takes money away from your wages before you even see the first dollar. They take thousands of dollars. If the possibility exists that they have taken too much, they've put in place a method where you can get your own money back from them. All you have to do is:
  1. Learn the complicated tax laws and begin the process yourself or hire a tax professional to help you get your own money back.
  2. Prove to the Internal Revenue Service that the amount they took by force from you all year is too much and you deserve to have your own earnings back.
  3. They review your numbers and then agree to eventually give back your own money but reserve the right to review the numbers later to make sure you didn't try to get back too much of your own money.

You live your life in such a way to be able to demonstrate on paper that you made very little money. After all of the deductions the goal is to prove that somehow your taxable earnings is zero. In other words, you work hard all year to accumulate as much wealth as possible but do it in such a way that at the end of the year you look like a pauper. Sounds like the American Dream doesn't it?

What makes the income tax completely wrong for a free society is that taxes by their very nature should be voluntary. Don't freak out, just listen. When you buy something you pay a sales tax (in some states). If you don't wish to pay that tax you can choose to refuse to purchase the item. Thus the tax is voluntary because you choose to subject yourself to it. With income tax, there is no choice.

What makes it worse is that 52% of income taxes pay for what our federal government calls "benefits." Who exactly gets the benefit from your money? Well, someone else probably. Fifty-two cents on every dollar you pay in income tax goes to someone else. Somehow someone decided that your money was better spent by another person. They took your wages from your job and gave your money to someone else. Just what you'd expect from a free society huh?

So while you're doing your taxes this year, remember that you're doing so because someone out there thinks someone else is to benefit from your attempt at survival.

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