Based on a recent study by the Tax Foundation, the “average” American (a somewhat ambiguous designation, I realize, but for our purposes here it will suffice) will pay $10,329.76 combined in taxes to federal, state, and local governments in 2010. That works out to about 25% of this same “average” American’s earnings.
To place that into perspective, medieval serfs in feudal Europe payed about that same amount to their lords. And yet, we pretend that America is “free.” It never was – it’s just that things are now outrageously bad, and getting worse.
Here’s the breakdown, as assessed by the Tax Foundation:
$3,687.45 in income taxes
$2,829.13 in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (FICA) taxes
$1,654.07 in sales and excise taxes (including gasoline, liquor, tobacco, etc.)
$1,403.93 in property taxes
$693.60 in various other taxes, including federal customs and duties, state oil taxes, etc.
$61.58 in estate and gift taxes
This, the fruits of a supposed revolution founded largely on a revolt against oppressive taxation. Considered oppressive at that time? A tiny little 3% or so tax on imported tea.
It would be almost impossible to list all of the various taxes we suffer at the hands of government at one time or another – the above statistics are arranged into very broad and general categories. Of one thing, however, can we rest universally assured: All of it, every last cent, is nothing short of extortion and armed robbery.
A favorite quote of the IRS (often found as an epigram at the beginning of one of their pestilential communicades with the public) is an ultimately foolhardy statement by Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society.”
Let’s see if I get our Holmes-boy straight: Money taken from people under the threat of property seizure, arrest, imprisonment – or even death if the subject being taxed resists – constitutes a perfectly civilized way of human beings dealing with one another. Pardon me, Holmes (and I’m obviously not talking Sherlock here), but your particular brand of logic doesn’t pass muster. If that’s your definition of a “civilized society,” then brother I’ll take anarchy any day.
Of course, this is at the root of the problem. That is, the notion that chaos will ensue unless all are forced at gunpoint to pay to support an institution that most people believe is installed to maintain order, dispense justice, build roads, provide health care, school children, and myriad of other “necessary” things. And without this violent mechanism, there would not only be bloodshed, looting and rioting unabated, but gross inequality on an economic level and mass injustice at the hands of “the big corporations.”
This entire mindset is based on blind fear, and little more. In a voluntary market-based society, peoples’ wants and needs are provided for since, as Benjamin Franklin so sagely observed, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention.” Sadly, he too thought that inventing a government was necessary.
I cannot, nor can I be expected to, name any and all ways in which a free and unfettered marketplace in goods, services, and ideas could and would function. Only a dictator would claim to be perfect in this arena – a claim, of course, which always proves false. What I can say is that without fail, when we remove violent coercion from human relationships, problems have a strange way of solving themselves through voluntary human action. Does America not enjoy a robust agricultural industry, in the south and elsewhere, now that black slavery has long ended? Many would’ve argued that such would not be the case a century and a half ago. We now know unequivocally that they were dead wrong, and not just morally.
Folks, government is naught but a great illusion, a mass con-game designed only to extort and enslave. It’s time you and I were free. It’s time we got rid of government altogether, and looked after ourselves.