Happy Tax Freedom Day

By | April 18, 2013 | 0 Comments


April 18 is Tax Freedom Day, the day when average Americans stop working for the government and start working for themselves. No surprise – this year this happy day comes five days later than last year. This is the 108th day of the year. That is, we will have spent 29.6% of this year working to pay federal and state taxes. This is more time than the average American spends working to pay for food, clothing, and housing combined.

According to the Tax Foundation, we now work:

● 32 days to pay federal individual income taxes;
● 24 days to pay federal social insurance taxes:
● 12 days to pay state and local sales taxes and excise taxes, plus property taxes;
● 8 days to pay state and local individual income taxes, plus federal corporate income tax;
● 3 days to pay other federal taxes;
● 3 days to pay other state and local taxes;
● 2 days to pay federal excise taxes;
● 1 day to pay state and local corporate income taxes;
● 3 hours to pay for state and local social insurance taxes.

There, don’t you feel better now? As of today, average Americans will start working for themselves and their families – that is, if they can find jobs in a stagnant economy, or if they can squeeze any profit out of their businesses, despite a host of oppressive regulations.
Here let me ask, what is a slave? You may picture black slaves in the pre-Civil War South, picking cotton for their masters. Or you may picture Israelites in ancient Egypt, building monuments to Pharaoh. But the essence of a slave is that he or she is forced to work for no pay.

In fact, one might define slavery as a 100% tax rate.

It would be an exaggeration to claim that the average American is 29.4% a slave. After all, we get many benefits for our taxes. Some of these benefits we even want and need. For example, our government defends us against foreign enemies, doesn’t it? Well yes, it does, unless we happen to be in the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and our repeated warnings and calls for help are ignored.

It would be fascinating to ask Ambassador Chris Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty their opinion as to whether they were getting their money’s worth from the taxes they had paid. Regrettably, they are no longer among us to answer this question.

And here’s a similar question. Unstable, fanatical rulers in North Korea and Iran are developing, or have developed, nuclear capability. We have a right to ask whether all the taxes we have paid since the 1980s, when a missile defense was first proposed, have sufficed to protect us from nuclear-tipped missiles. If the answer is “no” or “well, maybe,” do we have a right to be just a bit perturbed?

This is an example of Murphy’s Law of Priority: The more time and money a person, or a government, spends on nonessentials, the less time and money they have to spend on essentials – defense against homicidal enemies, for example.

No, I’m not saying that the bombing of the Boston Marathon occurred because of negligence. I am saying that defense against violent attack should be first priority, rather than wasting the government’s time regulating trivia from light bulbs and toilets, to dishwashing detergent and shower heads, to salt shakers and sodas – for our own good, of course. It’s good to have a “green” toilet and shower head. It’s better to remain alive to use them.

Slaves in the cotton fields also got “benefits” for their labor – free food, free clothing, and free housing, such as they were. The key question is this: How high can taxes rise, and how late can Tax Freedom Day come, before we are, in effect, partial slaves?

I could have titled this column, “Happy Birthday, Income Tax.” This year marks the 100th birthday of the income tax. The tax was authorized by the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, which was ratified Feb. 3, 1913. In those remote days, we had the archaic notion that if we wanted the federal government to have a power not specifically granted it by the Constitution, we needed to pass an amendment. How quaint.

Now, of course, we live in enlightened times. We allow the federal government to assume powers not mentioned in the Constitution – but passed by a close vote of Congress with no debate – and upheld by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court on the basis of fanciful reasoning. Yes, I’m talking about ObamaCare.

But I’m also talking about standing the Constitution on its head. Its authors stated repeatedly that the Constitution granted only limited powers to the federal government – powers that were clearly spelled out. Now, on the contrary, we are told that the federal government has the power to do anything it pleases, so long as it is not specifically forbidden by the Constitution. And even then, creative interpretation can turn a Constitutional provision into meaningless twaddle. Look what almost happened, and still may happen, to the Second Amendment.

When then-Speaker Pelosi was asked what part of the Constitution empowered the federal government to control health care, she replied, “Are you serious, are you serious?” – while giggling. That giggle was more threatening to our freedom than enemy troops crossing our border.

If we fought hard enough, we could push back an invasion. But what can we do when our highest officials openly express contempt for the document they are sworn to uphold – the document under which they serve? Is the Constitution nothing more than a laughing matter, an essentially meaningless relic? Then these officials have no right to hold office or perform any official functions.

When Elena Kagan, then dean of Harvard Law School, was asked whether the federal government has the power to require all Americans to eat “three fruits and three vegetables daily,” she refused to say no. Instead, she said that it seemed like a “dumb” law, but pointedly added, “Courts would be wrong to strike down laws that they think are senseless just because they’re senseless.” Despite Kagan’s admission that she believes the federal government’s power is virtually unlimited, she was confirmed to the Supreme Court. As expected, she voted to uphold ObamaCare in a 5-4 decision.

If we aren’t more vigilant, Miss Liberty may choke on those three fruits and vegetables, as the government seizes more and more power over our lives – for our own good, of course.

I wish you a happy and a thoughtful Tax Freedom Day.

A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.
− Edward R. Murrow

It may be that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.
− Will Durant

U.S. Constitution © 1787, all rights reserved.
− Anon.

Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

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