April 16, 2006 -- Let's do a tax day thought experiment. Let's pretend that you rather than politicians and unelected government bureaucrats controlled how you spend your own money.
If you are in an average American family the federal government takes around 25 percent of your income for various taxes. Check out your W-2 form. You’ll also see that your state and possibly your city and country take their cut, probably another 10 percent. If you own land you pay real estate taxes. Every time you go to the store you pay sales taxes. When you fill up your vehicle you pay 18 cents per gallon of gasoline in federal taxes and another quarter in state taxes. Add to that the extra costs of tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers that mean you pay more for everything from shirts to shoes to sugar. Once you add it up we pay perhaps 40 percent or more in taxes, tens of thousands of dollars.
Now imagine that governments limited themselves to protecting our lives, liberty and property, which would mean most of that money would remain in the hands of we the people who earned it. Now imagine we Americans deciding how to spend our money, using it to purchase a house, send our kinds to college, pay for our own health care, save for our retirement. Imagine we Americans as their own masters.
Instead Americans are dependent on politicians for handouts. These pushers treat us like children who can’t tie our shoes and wipe our noses without their help. They're like doctors who break our legs and charge us outrageous prices for aspirin for the pain.
We free Americans must recognize the immorality of our tax system that takes so much that it makes it impossible for us to live free, independent lives; that makes many of us into beggars dependent on crumbs thrown to us by politicians; that redistributes money, so that many Americans see their fellow citizens either as thieves bent on picking their pockets or cash cows to be exploited, creating a war of all against all.
It is time for Americans to get mad and stay mad, and to demand keep your own money which is also your own freedom.
Edward Hudgins writes on political and social issues. He is the editor of Freedom to Trade: Refuting the New Protectionism, Space: The Free Market Frontier, and two books on postal service privatization. His latest collection is entitled An Objectivist Secular Reader. He is director of advocacy for The Atlas Society.