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If morality is back in vogue, as many suggest it finally is, then the
first thing Americans ought to do is demand that their representatives
in all levels of government repeal huge sections of the tax code.

That’s because the nature of the U.S. tax system is, at this juncture
in our history, confiscatory, not “voluntary” as it was initially
supposed to be. The moment this changed was the moment taxes became a
moral issue.

Skeptical Americans dismiss the notion that taxes are confiscatory
and forcefully applied to the populace via wages, user “fees,” tolls,
licensures and a host of other methods. And yet none of these skeptics
can logically dismiss the fact that if you decided not to pay your taxes
– for any reason — armed agents would eventually show up at your front
door and forcefully haul you off to jail or kill you if you resisted
them.

How’s that for “voluntary”?

Over the years a paradox of sorts regarding the issue of taxation and
the morality of taxation has emerged. On the one hand most Americans can
agree that indeed some level of taxation is necessary to support
the constitutional functions of government. But on the other hand, a
growing number also agree that our system of taxation currently supports
many unconstitutional functions of government. As such taxation
has had to become an abusive, unfair, coercive, and illegitimate means
of funding in order to support an increasing level of spending sought by
politicians.

The real question is, and ought to be, who owns our money — the
government or us?

Taxes — and specifically, lowering taxes — has been a
common, popular campaign theme for decades. That in and of itself
suggests to me that most Americans feel like the money they earn is
their money first and foremost, and that government is being
allowed to take a portion of it to sustain itself. If that were
not the case then politicians would not pander to the issue of
lowering our taxes to get us to vote for them.

Again this year taxes — or tax cuts, depending upon whom you speak
with — are a big campaign issue. So big, in fact, that the Republicans
have come up with not one but two competing tax cut plans,
neither of which will amount to much but both of which will be touted as
“major accomplishments” if either of them ever come to fruition. For the
record, most Democrats oppose both plans.

“Moderate” Republicans want to grant Americans “moderate” tax cuts,
siding with liberals who still say “mean, ornery and rotten”
conservatives are trying to get rid of social programs and “starve
children.” In this case, “moderate tax cut” means “paltry tax cut” or
“meaningless tax cut.”

The other plan doesn’t fare much better, even though the numbers seem
high at first glance. Plan No. 2 calls for a tax cut of nearly $800
billion — spread out over ten years. That only amounts to a cut
of about $80 billion per year — out of a budget of nearly $1.9
trillion, or less than one percent. And that’s only if the
federal budget doesn’t surpass this figure in ten years, which is
wishful thinking.

Gee, thanks.

Most people in Congress never once presume that our money is
our money when creating these new tax schemes. They never
consider that taxes are only possible through the consent of the
governed — that’s us. Instead, most of them believe they are
entitled to everything we earn, and that anything we get
to keep is made possible only through their generosity. That kind of
presumptive hubris about taxes is one of the reasons why this country
was founded in the first place.

Many people who support big government nanny programs will argue that
the U.S. still has one of the lowest tax rates in the western world,
that the free market cannot police itself so government must (which is
costly), and that anyone who wants to keep more of their own money is a
greedy Nazi who has no right to what he earns.

If you’re one of those people, you’re not only wrong but historically
incorrect as well.

First of all, most Americans don’t care what other nations are paying
in taxes; we live here and consequently we’re worried
about our tax rates. And for the most part, America has
always had a lower tax rate — a benefit of being an American
citizen. Besides, since when is a nation’s greatness defined by high
tax rates anyway?

Secondly, the free market polices itself very well without government
interference. If you doubt this, then explain how this nation achieved
superpower economic status without so many federal agencies –
most of which are only about 35 years old or less? Most bureaucratic
regulations do little to make industry safer or more efficient and cost
customers and businesses hundreds of billions of dollars per year. To
believe life cannot be safe or productive without government oversight
is historically incorrect and ludicrous in a free market society. If you
take a big government perspective here, you’d have to assume that
private corporations and companies would do nothing to make
themselves more competitive, better service-oriented, safer, and
customer friendly — which is absurd if the company is to survive and
prosper.

Thirdly, most people (like big-government liberals) who are
“appalled” at the thought of Americans who want to keep more of their
own money are hypocrites who become equally appalled when government
raids their finances for programs they don’t support. These
people always advocate “the rich” paying more (simply because they’re
rich — never mind how hard “the rich” had to work to become rich). And
they support rules that mandate “big corporations” give more to the
government, simply because they’re doing well. That kind of logic is
morally bankrupt, in that it pits the well-to-do against the
not-so-well-to-do in a classic “divide and conquer” mentality that has
dominated liberal politics for years. In this country we used to
encourage success because it gave other people a portal to wider
success. We’re not supposed to penalize success through taxation,
regulations, and government lawsuits because that stifles free market
growth and the overall growth of our economy. Any “Economics 101″
professor and student should know that, because if a business costs more
to run (and taxes drive costs up), there are fewer profits, fewer new
hires, and fewer opportunities to spread the success.

The fact is most Americans — regardless of their political stripes
– would benefit by supporting lower taxes. It’s always been that way,
and it’s always going to be that way because Americans, as a rule, work
hard and want to experience the benefits of the fruit of their own
labor.

It is morally repugnant to demand, under the rule of law or threat of
force or both, something that doesn’t inherently belong to you.
Therefore, the issue of taxes is a moral issue and should be treated as
one. Are you listening, candidates?

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