“The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest amount of feathers with the least amount of hissing.” – Anonymous
Like many other Americans, I believe that the U.S. Tax Code has, at its core, one part greed and one part leftist social engineering. It is admittedly an ingenious contrivance of insidious, almost imperceptible incrementalism. For those whose personal or political objectives require capital, of course, having their hands as deep in the public till as possible is attractive. But if one examines the scope of the federal government’s policies as they relate to our pocketbooks, it becomes clear that the Tax Code is but a part of a greater, pernicious whole.
Ask someone what they know about the “Red Scare” back in the ’50s and the phrase “McCarthyism” will probably spring to their lips. Joe McCarthy was the U.S. senator from Wisconsin who spearheaded congressional hearings which targeted suspected communists. This inconvenienced a lot of people, ruined careers and things of that nature.
The spin that the left put on this chapter of American history (aided by a liberal media and the fact that McCarthy was personally quite an unsavory individual) is that the exercise was a “witch hunt” (a term with which “McCarthyism” has become practically synonymous), that we wasted a lot of time and money, and injured people looking for communists who weren’t there. This is not true, of course, because it is a matter of public record that there were indeed card-carrying members of the American Communist Party who were very active at that time, their intended aim being to bring a Marxist government to power in the United States – not through revolution, but by a slow wearing-away of ideals and principles.
What’s all this got to do with taxes?
As we know, employers are required to deduct and withhold a specified percentage of employees’ wages and pay that to the IRS. Withholding for federal income tax and Social Security (FICA, both the employer’s and employee’s share) taxes, unemployment insurance taxes along with workmen’s compensation taxes has risen over the years. Salaries have not kept pace with these increases for a very good reason.
Along with other federal regulatory agencies such as OSHA and the EPA, which until recently were largely controlled through the legislation and appointments of Democrats in the legislative and executive branches, through taxing businesses both large and small, Treasury aided in making it so expensive to do business that employers became unable to pay employees on a par with pay scales of 30 years ago when compared to relative costs of living. Encumbering business with inordinate taxation proved to be a relatively easy task given the class envy that was fostered by the left during the ’60s and ’70s.
Then, there are excise taxes. Federal, state and local gasoline taxes hit motorists for around 40 to 50 cents a gallon in most states. Taxes on residential telephone service amount to as much as 20 or 30 percent of the average phone bill.
What’s all this got to do with leftist social engineering?
Well, we have confiscatory personal income taxes, lower incomes relative to years’ past and exorbitant excise taxes – all of which militate against the bottom line, but particularly against those in the middle-income bracket. We were led to believe that women entered the workforce as a result of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1970s. It has in fact become widely accepted in the last 20 years that 1) the architects of the Women’s Liberation Movement had a somewhat wider agenda than women’s rights, and 2) the women in two-parent families are in the workforce because they believe, economically speaking, that they have to be.
In effect, the socialists so feared in the 1950s have effectively succeeded in enslaving the urban poor through entitlement programs (funded through taxation) and have taxed working families into a barely functional state-contrived paradigm which now closely mirrors that of families under the Soviets. Getting women out of the house and children institutionalized early was an integral part of the plan.
I personally appreciate the efforts of conservative politicians to ease our tax burden. In Colorado, Gov. Bill Owens has initiated measures which ameliorate the marriage-penalty tax on the state level. However, I am with other conservatives in that first, I do not believe it is enough, and second, these efforts do nothing to address the underlying reasons for the aforementioned trends.
Cries for lower taxes, re-structuring the IRS and the like are fine, but we’ve heard little call for restraining the runaway influence of federal regulatory agencies like OSHA, the FCC and the EPA – an imperative if we intend to bring wages into line with the cost of living and truly get things back on track.