This country was founded in part because of a tax revolt. Colonists tired of paying taxes to England with no representative voice to assure that they benefited in some manner. Though we now theoretically have a representative form of government, are the interests of tax paying citizens truly represented?
The filing day for 2009 federal income taxes looms near, and this scribe’s heart is burdened with doubt that the system is working.
Our government provides certain necessary services that would probably not be available otherwise. Transportation infrastructure, national defense, domestic law enforcement, disaster aid… For such services as these, some manner of individual taxation is warranted. But the level of taxation and the manner in which it is distributed across society is not warranted, is not equitable, and creates unintended (one presumes) spending and investment strategies for individuals and businesses.
According to the Tax Policy Center, 47% of American households will pay no income tax in 2009. From another perspective likely more appropriate for Hayride readers, 53% of us will pay taxes to provide services for all, and for a great deal of funding (think defense) for the rest of the world as well. Five years ago, slightly over 60% of us paid taxes, while just under 40% did not. If this trend continues, soon less than half will pay income taxes to the federal government. And while most would probably concede that the truly indigent, the poorest of the poor, ought not be taxed if they have any earned income, can we comfortably say that half of the country fits that description?
Consider as well that should this trend continue, over half of the voting population will soon not pay taxes, but rather will consume ever increasing levels of entitlements funded by the minority who pays. Government spending grows unabashedly, to a great extent in order to fund unsustainable entitlement programs, and we approach a time when the majority of those electing that government will be feeding at the government trough that fewer and fewer of us replenish. As entitlements grow and the tax base diminishes, the level of taxation imposed on those still paying them will continue to escalate.
We’ve a ways to go before we catch up with our European brethren. In the UK, 10% of the population – 5 million people – has not performed a single day of productive work since 1997, when New Labour began transitioning their government into that which it is today, and which the current American leadership clearly aspires to emulate. And as noted above, the 53% of us still paying taxes are providing for the defense of Europe as well as our own country, as increasing sums of European revenue is siphoned away from defense to provide for the increasing magnitude of their dependent society.
Have you noticed what our president has been doing to our defense programs lately? Is it because he feels that other nations will follow suit and the world will become a safer place, as some, including him, have suggested? Or is it because he knows he must start restructuring our budget to pay for his social agenda?
It’s time for this trend to stop; to be reversed. It’s time for another (peaceful) revolt. That can only occur if we elect new representation who will support greater fiscal responsibility and who will encourage more individual social responsibility. Elect them and hold them accountable, while we still have a slight majority.
This can’t continue.