Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Destructiveness of Taxes

My mother prepares taxes. She’s in her seventies now and she still prepares them for some of the clients she served when she was a financial planner. Many of them trust no one else. I am one of the people who trust her to save the most or get the most back when it comes to taxes.

I’ve never had a job where I’ve earned that much money. I’ve always been on the edge, working full time, paycheck to paycheck, and hardly able to survive. In fact, most of my life I haven’t been able to make ends meet with one job. I’ve always had to take on side work. Whether it was from taking on too much debt or having too many kids doesn’t really matter. The times I’ve been able to get ahead while working only a full time job have been few and far between. I suppose that’s probably true for most people. Yet, I’ve been more fortunate than many in that when I couldn’t find anything else my mother always had work for me to do. From accounting to computer programming to gardening, she would always find extra work for me when I needed it. She was also quite good at getting tax money back for me using the government’s own rules.

So it was years ago when I had a particularly poor paying job and no side work was available for me that I started complaining to her about my lack of funds to pay for the necessities of life. It was during the course of such a conversation when she asked something to the effect of, “Tell me, how would you be doing if you didn’t have to pay taxes?” That question made me think. I remember doing some quick math in my head and figuring out that I would have had all the money I needed for expenses and been able to put money away if I wasn’t paying taxes. I wouldn’t have been doing too badly. I told her as much.

In today’s economy, many more people are in the same boat I was in, the same boat I remain in. One might ask one’s self, after all that has happened and with the economy teetering on the brink of complete collapse, how much better off would we all be if we didn’t have to pay taxes? I know this might sound frightening to those of us who are unemployed and living on unemployment insurance and those who are working at a government job and dependent upon the tax extortion money for their paycheck, but there are much deeper matters to consider here. Things might look glum now and perhaps these ideas may seem radical in the short term, but we must look at the long term, we must look for the best way to secure the future for our children and grandchildren. Do we succumb to the siren’s call of a big nanny government and let a corrupt elite decide what to do with and for all others, or do we take matters into our own hands, shrink government to a nearly non existent level and allow ourselves to decide through the free market which businesses succeed and which fail?

How many people who were foreclosed upon would still be in their homes if they didn’t have to pay property taxes? How many would have been able to save enough to weather these tough times if they didn’t have to pay income taxes? How much more food and clothes could be bought if there was no sales tax? How much destruction have taxes done to the economy? The answers to these questions might never be known. We can only speculate as to how much better off we’d be had we been allowed to spend the money we’ve earned as we wanted instead of how the various governments wanted. We can only speculate how much better off we’d be if the people had paid more attention and demanded the federal government stick to the principles set forth in the Constitution and not allowed the congress to grant an unconstitutional monopoly in debt note creation to the Federal Reserve.

Yet things don’t stop there. It’s not bad enough that people are taxed to the hilt and their money spent on services they wouldn’t want or use, money is now stolen from the common folk and given to the wealthiest among us in the form of bailouts and nobody is held accountable. To make matters worse, the money is then earmarked to be loaned back to the now bankrupt and broken populace so that they can once again give the money to the banks, this time with interest. It’s a vicious spiral that eventually leads to the debt enslavement of the masses to an extremely wealthy elite which is quickly becoming the new royalty. If things keep going the way they are it won’t be long before petty bureaucrats are deciding the spending habits of multitudes and individual lives will be hanging in the balance while awaiting their decisions.

To make things worse the elite in charge of the money supply seem to think not only that they’re better than the rest of us, but that they’re above the law. In fact, when listening to them, one might come to believe that they think they are the law. On several occasions now, when asked by congressmen where the money has gone, Fed officials have either refused to answer or claimed they didn’t know. This is public money, yours and mine, supposedly our hard earned taxes that were taken from us to provide for government services to the less fortunate, and they can’t or won’t even tell you where it’s gone. Who knows what kind of scams we have financed over the years?

We as a nation don’t have to put up with this. The Constitution provides for interest free public money. Commodity backed notes could be provided to the public directly from the US Treasury rather than from a privately owned, secret, quasi-governmental organization which is more concerned with their own wealth and power than with the good of the common folk. We don’t need a secretive Federal Reserve System that fights the light of a full public audit. If push comes to shove, I’m sure arrangements could even be made for congress to set interest rates and use that money to fund a small federal government, ridding us of the need to collect any kind of federal taxes, at the very least. Admittedly, this would not be the optimal solution to the economic problems we face, but it would go a long way toward correcting the mistakes that were made in 1913.

Taxes destroy not just the economy, but infrastructure as well. Let’s not forget that a huge percentage of our taxes goes to fund an empire. It funds operations in that empire that have killed millions and destroyed property worth billions. Trillions have been poured into wars of questionable merit. Anyone who disagrees with this kind of policy, too bad, you have to pay for it anyway. There is no recourse. There is no redress of grievance. If you decide not to pay, you risk being fined and imprisoned. This destruction is paid for by your taxes. Does this benefit the general public? I don’t believe so. It only helps a few at the top of the heap involved in the weapons and war industries. Perhaps in some cases it helps those in the energy business. It helps corporate interests, but the vast majority of Americans are no longer served by such ventures and even those who are likely want to see an end to such destruction. Perhaps if this foreign adventurism and empire building was paid for by those who benefited from such policies rather than from taxing the common man, perhaps then we’d see a different approach taken to foreign policy.

Taxes, no matter how they are collected, takes money that likely would have been spent in other ways and gives it to areas and services that might not be in demand. Those who argue for taxation of any kind, argue for an immoral system. Governmental mandates would be better served if they were voluntarily funded or if private services were able to compete with government’s monopolies. If the federal government did not have such power over the separate states, we could much more easily vote with our feet when it comes to taxation tyranny. In any case, it is more acceptable to decentralize and fund government at more local levels than it is to run things from a huge centralized bureaucracy.

Although taxation is a bad idea no matter the economic situation, the burden of taxation is exceptionally heavy during down economic times. It is during the boom times when taxes are levied, usually against the richest amongst us, and people don’t seem to mind so much. But it is during the bust times that the chickens come home to roost, so to speak. Now we can better understand the immorality of the system as it destroys those who can no longer afford the burden. Using force and threats to extract money from people is never the way business should be done and allowing for it to happen, no matter the good intentions, can only destroy the spirit and soul of any given society.

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