Ravenwood - 05/11/05 06:00 AM
Taxation is just like robbery. The major difference is who's holding the gun. Like the enforcement of all laws, taxes are collected using the threat of lethal force; that is, with the barrel of a gun. A lot of people think I'm over-dramatizing that but it's true. People have just become so accustomed to it that they don't even realize anymore.
If you don't believe me, try not paying your taxes and see how long it takes for the men with guns to show up. I would advise you hire a good lawyer first, though.
For instance go down to the mall and try to buy something without paying taxes on it. Tell the cashier that you no longer pay taxes and demand that they take them off your bill. If you insist, it's only a matter of time before the guys with guns are called.
When your cable bill arrives add up all those taxes and fees on your statement. Then go down to the cable company and demand that they remove them from your bill. Tell them that you'll wait while they re-tally your bill. Or if you've already paid, demand a refund. Like I said, you'd better have the number for that lawyer handy because you're going to need it.
Next time you're looking for work, try to find a boss that will hire you "under the table". There might be such a job out there, but if you get caught you'll wind up talking to the guys with guns again. Or if you already have a job, next payday take your stub over to the payroll department and demand that they fork over the tax that they withheld. Tell them that you aren't paying taxes this month and demand a check for the difference. Pound on the desk until you get satisfaction.
Next time you're driving through New Jersey, tell the attendant at the toll booth that you're not paying taxes this week and drive on through. See how long it takes for the guys in blue to show up and extract payment.
You see, the problem with taxes is that not only are they confiscatory, but politicians have cleverly and systematically made them almost invisible. When you fill up your gas tank, the sign says $2 a gallon. If it weren't against the law, the retailer would probably put $1.25 per gallon on the sign and hit you for the taxes when you check out. They would much rather advertise their actual price. The reason it's illegal is not out of fairness to you, but because the government doesn't want you seeing how much they are hitting you for in gasoline taxes. If you're lucky, some retailers will put a small sign up that says how much tax you're paying per gallon.
Similar fights are being waged over taxes and fees on your telephone or cable bill. The vendor wants to itemize those taxes so that you don't think they're overcharging you. The government wants them to roll those up into his costs so you don't see how much you're being bilked.
Taxes are withheld from your paycheck up front. People are so accustomed to it that when you ask them how much they earn they say something like, "I take home twelve hundred a month." Tell them you didn't ask them what they take home, you asked them what they earned. A lot of them still won't be able to tell you.
Rep. John Hostettler, a Republican from Indiana, has proposed that federal withholding be repealed. He would have it go back to the old days where payments were mailed in quarterly. Withholding was supposed to be a temporary measure any way. The politicians had promised that withholding was only necessary to help pay for the cost of fighting World War II. They promised that once the War was over, we would go back to the old way again. Well, 60 years later and we're still waiting.
The Federal Tax Withholding Repeal Act of 2005 doesn't stand a snowball's chance of being passed. (It might as well be called the Stepping on Orphans and Puppies Act.) Politicians on both sides of the aisle know that all those spending programs, and all that pork that gets them re-elected year after year, depend on federal withholding. There is just too much at stake to risk public outcry over taxation. Because if people had to actually write a check every month, they might start questioning what they're paying for. And we can't have that.
(c) Ravenwood and Associates, 1990 - 2014