Over the years, wise men have said a lot about the iniquitous nature of taxation. Chief Justice John Marshall likened the power of taxation to the power of destruction. Novelist Herman Wouk said the greatest fiction of all time is an income tax return. Most recently, conservative commentator Andrew Wilkow called taxpayers the new permanent underclass. While these morose words might have you ordering a new prescription for Prozac, if you subscribe to Keynesian economic philosophy, then at least you’re stimulating a sector of the market!
Today is Tax Day. This is the annual tradition when conservatives and libertarians realize that they have forked over a significant portion of their income to the federal government. Leftists, however, may not even know what day it is because they’re too busy demanding President Donald Trump’s tax returns and tweeting, “Impeach Drumpf Now!”
Americans can anticipate a somewhat different tragedy compared to previous years. In an attempt to show that Trump and the GOP’s tax cuts did not help the average household, the media has regularly reported that filers can expect smaller refunds. While this is technically correct, it is only true because income earners experienced less confiscation from their paychecks over the last year.
Does it make it any better? Well, the answer to that question depends on how you respond to this one: Would you rather be stuck in a room with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) reading the 6,500 pages of the U.S. tax code or would you rather spend eternity watching the Counterfeit News Network?
Yeah, it doesn’t really matter. Both scenarios are torturous. The only good thing that comes out of this legalized larceny is to once again discover how egregious, soul-sucking, and time-consuming the whole affair of filing taxes really is.
For instance, Americans spent more than eight billion hours preparing their tax returns. As another example of this drain on the economy, the total cost burden of IRS paperwork neared $200 billion. And, what did the American people get for this? Not much, except a bill of $200 just to file a 1040 and more than five minutes wasted calling the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Just think of the opportunity cost.
You can only imagine what the population would have been able to do with that extra money and that little bit of additional time. Why, taxpayers could have donated a couple of hundred bucks to the Treasury Department or spent those five minutes reading libertarian memes!
Don’t worry. The IRS is paying you back with new and more complicated W4 forms.
Perhaps the Japanese system is superior to the American version. In early spring, the Kokuzeicho sends you a postcard with how much you earned, how much tax you owed, and how much was withheld. Disagree? Saunter into a tax office and dispute it. That’s it. No tax accountants, no attorneys, and no annoying H&R Block commercials.
Abolish the 16th
Defenders of the IRS often espouse the fallacy that taxes are how we pay for a civilized society. If it weren’t for the government, who would pave the roads? Who would educate the children? Who would confiscate your earnings? But here’s a better question, one that suits the state much better: If it weren’t for the government breaking your legs, who would give you a crutch? That’s the real nature of government; it’s not the benevolent force out to do good that some statists believe is the case.
In the Declaration of Independence, it is said that every American has the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” If everyone has a right to life, then it is also logical to concede that the population is entitled to enjoy the fruits of their labor, otherwise known as a property right. So, why is the government violating your property by forcefully extracting part of of your earnings? You can’t have a right to life if you don’t have a right to what you make and what you own.
Abortion proponents often say, “My body, my choice,” and that the government has no business inside a woman’s uterus. Well, 16th Amendment abolitionists should shout, “My money, my choice,” and Washington and state capitols nationwide do not have a right to your wallet.
Sorry President John F. Kennedy, it’s not what you can do for your country. Instead, it’s what the country can do to leave you alone and stay out of your bank account. Let’s hop in a time machine and travel back to 1912 when Ethel Barrymore was dominating the stage, Fenway Park had its inaugural season, and the income tax was non-existent.