Sunday, September 26, 2010

Taxes: Thoughts on "The Shakedown"

In my previous posting, I wrote an allegorical piece of fiction that I suppose was not all that subtle with regards to the subject of taxation in the United States. As a follow up, I thought maybe I’d just come right out and tell you what I think about it.

First, I’m not so radical so as to say that we need to completely do away with any and all taxes. I, after all, do quite enjoy driving on paved roads. I like having policemen around to take care of people bent on doing wrong things, and firemen around to put out fires. It is fantastic to have safe schools staffed with well-trained and devoted teachers. It is wonderful to live in a place in the world where we have unparalleled security provided by the best military available. My issue really isn’t with the idea of the government pulling funds from the citizens in order to pay for services that are provided to all. My issue is really that there seems to be no end to the insatiable hunger for more that has gripped our governments; both national and local.

Most taxpayers lament the big two: Federal Income Taxes, and State Income Taxes. However, have you ever taken the time to consider just how many different taxes you actually pay on a regular basis? Let me list just the ones I can think of right now off of the top of my head:

Federal Income Taxes
Social Security Taxes
State Income Taxes
Local Income Taxes
State Sales Taxes
Excise Taxes
Property Taxes (A tax that pulls from you a percentage of the value of your property every year whether it has provided you any income or not.)
Gasoline Taxes
Cigarette Taxes (Being a non-smoker that kind of hates the smoke, I don’t really mind this one all that much, but the principle is still the issue.)
Inheritance Taxes
Capital Gains Taxes
Corporate Taxes
Special taxes on: Hotel Rooms, Restaurants, Rental Cars, and Airline Tickets
Road Tolls
Speeding Tickets, Parking Tickets, etc (I heard someone say recently that a tax is a fine on legal activities and a fine is a tax on illegal ones.)
Parking Meters
Entrance Fees to State and National Parks
The list goes on….
I’m sure that I’ve missed some. Maybe you can add to my list.

Plus, have you ever considered the taxes hidden in things like your cell phone bill, your electric bill, your gas utility bill, etc? I discovered a couple of weeks ago that I pay over $100 per year in taxes just so my family can have cell phones!

I will also say that our tax system as it is currently designed is patently unfair. The Federal Income Tax rates range from zero to 35% depending on your income range. That concept is unfair at its core. Now, our national leaders in the Democratic Party wish to increase the top range from 35% to 40%! Let’s put that in real terms. For every ten dollars that one in the top bracket would earn, they would have to give four of them to the government….and then, also pay the full list of taxes that I’ve noted above. It is easy to see that someone in that tax bracket could easily pay well over 50% of their income in taxes once it is all said and done. How is that right? So what if they have a larger income, it still doesn’t make it RIGHT to simply take THEIR money because they have more of it!

Let me just say, I am not in that tax bracket. Even so, I still don’t think it is fair. I think it is legal robbery. And, those of us in the lower brackets are accessories to the theft if we don’t stand up and say “no more” to those who would continue to propagate the crime. If you saw burglars backing a panel van up to your neighbor’s house, would you just let them steal at will because you know the neighbor can afford it? Or, would you call 911 and stop the theft? What kind of neighbor are you?

We can do what we need to do as a country with a reasonable and fair tax system. We can take care of the truly poor. We can provide for the national defense. We can provide the police, fire, and educational resources. We can. But, we must overhaul the system, cut the excesses, and create a genuinely fair method of taxation.

We need to think outside the current system…outside the box. We need to create a nationally represented body of independent representatives that can recreate our system without being unduly influenced by special interests and political ties; a special panel represented by every corner of the nation. Who cares if they are Republican or Democrat? This body could act without thought to personal gain or prestige; they could instead act in a way that is in the best interests of the country.

Oh, wait! We already have a body that is supposed to be like that! It’s called congress!

In 1773, there was a protest held in Boston, Massachusetts called the “Boston Tea Party” that was brought on because the taxation system from England had become unfair. The cry at the time was “No taxation without representation!” Now, we have an unfair system of taxation within a system of representation.

Folks, we have a good system. It is time to change the representation.

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