Friday, June 26, 2009

Taxes, Voluntary or Involuntary?

“Grandpa, I remember once how I would set a government up if I was the one writing the Constitution and I’ll admit I came up with the strangest ideas. One of those strange ideas had to do with taxes and how we pay them. Right now we pay taxes on about everything and it is getting to the point we need a tax lawyer just to be sure we pay them but do not overpay them.

Taxes are one obligation we have that no one likes to pay regardless of you are or of what political affiliation you have. It seems like everyone is an anarchist when it comes around to paying some tax or another. There are always some that, supposedly, do not pay any tax while there are others who pay them scrupulously but grudgingly. It seems that there is no such thing as a fair tax that everybody would willingly pay.

One thing that is certain though. The people of any nation, regardless of type of tax, pay all taxes. The people, in this case, would be made up of those who are consumers and those who are workers. The most galling thing about taxes, to me, is that we pay them on three levels of government; federal, state and local. Some might say we pay taxes on a fourth level of government also, the international level by support of the United Nations. It sure does try to act as if it was a world government. Then we need to think of all the other governments of the world we support in one way or another with our taxes.

At one time, I was contemplating the idea of people paying all their taxes to their local governments. The local government would then pay the state what it needed to govern the state. The state would then send the federal government what was needed to govern the nation. That way the ones with the greater power would be able to influence the amount of tax on each level. It would also simplify the paying of taxes by the people and give them a reality check about how much of their hard-earned dollar is spent on taxes.

However, that idea did not last very long. History has a sneaky habit of making you look foolish at times. This was one of those times for me. History laughingly told me that my idea had already been tried and was unsuccessful. History reminded me that it was a form of this idea that resulted in our present Constitution.

Under our first Constitution, the states had the responsibility of funding the needs of the federal government not the people directly. Apparently, our leaders are no different from those they rule over. They do not like to spend the state’s money in taxes either. They sure like to collect taxes but they don’t like spending it on taxes. The only conclusion I can think of is that there is no political benefit in it for politicians.


It also showed the need of punitive actions when taxes are not paid which was a power that the federal government did not have. You can’t put a whole state in jail and war would be the only other option to enforce it.

Funny thing about all of this is, that taxation was one of the primary reasons that the people fought the war of independence. It was also one of the primary reasons of the need of a new Constitution for this nation. It also illustrates that taxation cannot be as voluntary as some like to say but we cannot say it is involuntary either. Like all laws, I guess, there is an element of both when we abide by them as demanded.”

Grandpa just laughed, “Yup, boy, you get no argument from me there.”

3 comments:

Karen Howes said...

I think that a Federal Income Tax is unconstitutional-- yes, states need to fund the Federal Gov't, but this doesn't mean that citizens should pay directly. We should be taxed by the states, and then the states should pay.

And you're right on about the American War for Independence being mainly about taxes.

RaDena said...

A wonderful post! If only everyone in this country understood that. That would be so wonderful too!

The Griper said...

i think it would result in greater accountability in government RaDena, but as i also said the problem is in the enforcement.

it sure would be nice if the Supreme Court saw it as unconstitutional, karen. but don't think that will ever happen considering the repercussions of an act like that.

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