Free Market

Tax Day: A Cause Not Worth Celebrating

Today, April 15, is known as “tax day”—the deadline to file one’s income taxes. We are compelled by the government to furnish detailed, personal information regarding our economic activities for the year 2013, 100 years after the passage of the 16th amendment.

That’s right: this country has had a constitutionally authorized federal income tax for less than half the duration of its existence. Despite its now longstanding existence in America, its ideological proponents include folks like Karl Marx who, in his Communist Manifesto, listed “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” as one of the central planks of his central planning philosophy.

It’s no surprise that his sympathizers in the progressive era of the early 20th century acted earnestly to see this policy adopted in America. It began, like most new government programs, in modest fashion; the income tax was only a small part of total government revenue. That changed after World War I, when the income tax furnished a significant portion of total taxes. Within a matter of years, it became an irreplaceable and largely accepted method of financing the federal government’s operations.

Of course, the income tax is only one of many government mandates laying claim to our property. Here’s a frightening—though partial—list of taxes to which we are made subject:

  • Accounts Receivable Tax
  • Building Permit Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • CDL license Tax
  • Cigarette Tax
  • Corporate Income Tax
  • Court Fines (indirect taxes)
  • Dog License Tax
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
  • Fishing License Tax
  • Food License Tax
  • Fuel permit tax
  • Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
  • Hunting License Tax
  • Inheritance Tax Interest expense (tax on the money)
  • Inventory tax IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax)
  • IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
  • Liquor Tax
  • Local Income Tax
  • Luxury Taxes
  • Marriage License Tax
  • Medicare Tax
  • Property Tax
  • Real Estate Tax
  • Septic Permit Tax
  • Service Charge Taxes
  • Social Security Tax
  • Road Usage Taxes (Truckers)
  • Sales Taxes
  • Recreational Vehicle Tax
  • Road Toll Booth Taxes
  • School Tax
  • State Income Tax
  • State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
  • Telephone federal excise tax
  • Telephone federal universal service fee tax
  • Telephone federal, state and
  • local surcharge taxes
  • Telephone minimum usage surcharge tax
  • Telephone recurring and non-recurring charges tax
  • Telephone state and local tax
  • Telephone usage charge tax
  • Toll Bridge Taxes
  • Toll Tunnel Taxes
  • Traffic Fines (indirect taxation)
  • Trailer Registration Tax
  • Utility Taxes
  • Vehicle License Registration Tax
  • Vehicle Sales Tax
  • Watercraft Registration Tax
  • Well Permit Tax
  • Workers Compensation Tax

Americans spend more on taxes than they do on food, clothing, and housing combined. It is presumed that the government is entitled to a portion of our property—and that failure to cough up will land us in jail (financed by others’ taxes, of course). Truly, the power to tax is the power to destroy.

While individuals should be required to pay for services they utilize, the degree to which citizens are taxed today is both egregious and unjust. Private property rights demand protection—and not violation—of one’s income and wealth. As such, it can easily and authoritatively be stated that the government does not protect each person’s property. In fact, it is one of the chief violators.

Invasive and extensive taxation policies enable the government to exceed its proper bounds, opening the door for programs and policies that otherwise would not exist. They erode each person’s privacy, requiring vast amounts of information on each individual. They siphon billions of dollars from the market economy, funneling it through an ineffective and wasteful bureaucracy and sending it to unproductive and politically connected coffers. They waste time and increase stress in mandating the completion of lengthy and convoluted forms to be compliant.

Do today’s tax laws protect property? Do they ensure privacy? Do they promote liberty? Do they operate with transparency and efficiency, ferreting out fraud and waste? Are they all necessary for the government to pursue its limited and proper objectives?

The answers to the above questions are quite obvious, and together indicate the burdensome and objectionable nature of modern taxation policy.