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The War on Prosperity

Posted Sunday, April 5, 2009, at 2:22 PM

America is the land of excessive taxation that was founded to avoid excessive taxation.

People who complain about taxes can be divided into two categories -- men and women.

Unless you're an accountant or a dependent, April 15 is a day of dread for most Americans. This is the fateful day when federal income taxes from the previous year are due.

The first income tax was enacted in 1862 to finance the Civil War.

In 1895, the Supreme Court declared the income tax to be a violation of the Constitution.

It took the central government until 1913 to clear all the legal hurdles and pass the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution which made the income tax a permanent institution and an annual national headache.

Today, the average American pays more in taxes than they spend on food, clothing, shelter and transportation combined. To conceal this outrageous fact, taxes are collected from every conceivable direction.

Accounts Receivable Tax, Building Permit Tax, CDL License Tax, Cigarette Tax, Corporate Income Tax, Dog License Tax, Electrical Utility Tax, Federal Income Tax, Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA), Fishing License Tax, Food License Tax, Fuel Permit Tax, Gasoline Tax, Hunting License Tax, Inheritance Tax, Inventory Tax, IRS Interest Charges (tax on top of tax), IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax), Liquor Tax, licensing tax, Luxury Tax, Marriage License Tax, Medicare Tax, Personal Property Tax, Real Estate Tax, Service charge taxes, Social Security Tax, Road Usage Tax (Truckers), Sales Taxes, Recreational Vehicle Tax, 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 Tax, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax, Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax, Telephone State and Local Tax, Telephone Usage Charge Tax, Utility Tax, Vehicle License Registration Tax, Vehicle Sales Tax, Watercraft Registration Tax, Well Permit Tax, Workers Compensation Tax.

As part of our War on Global Warming, a phenomenon that probably doesn't even exist, there will soon be a tax on breathing.

Presently, the U.S. federal tax code contains 66,498 pages of rules and regulations.

In 2004, George W. Bush and his merry band of in-your-face cowboy diplomats enacted new tax laws meant to ease the tax burden, albeit ever so slightly. This law took effect in phases over the period of a decade and included 441 changes in the system.

Some of the changes caused a great deal of confusion. For example, there was a line on the tax forms to claim a credit if you received no rebate check, or less than a full rebate check, from that year's one-time program to give taxpayers up to $300 for individuals and $600 for couples, based on the previous year's tax expense. In the early tax returns through February of that year, there were already more than two million returns with errors related merely to this one line.

in 2009, Barack Obama and his merry band of tax-and-spend social engineers have proposed sweeping changes to the tax code in an effort to redistribute income across the land. It's basically a War on Prosperity -- plunder the earnings of successful people and pass the goodies on to unsuccessful people. Once again, more bells and whistles will be added to the tax code to accommodate this new socialist agenda.

The Obama administration inherited a massive national debt. Their solution is to borrow zillions of dollars from future generations and utilize it to insert more control over the economy. The end result will inevitably be a much larger national debt.

Anyone with a brain larger than a garbanzo bean realizes that you don't get out of debt by going further into debt. Yet the federal government keeps grinding away, creating absurd solutions to problems it creates in the first place by subjugating us further and further under their control.

Anyone who fumbles through a federal income tax instruction booklet quickly realizes the tax code is far more complex than it should be. Even accountants go a bit wacky trying to figure it out.

Perhaps it was designed to confuse and frustrate on purpose, much like the design of my ex-wife. For example: IRS form 8583, Passive Activity Loss Limitation -- "Passive activity income does not include the following: Income for an activity that is not a passive activity."

Although it proves that Cheech and Chong have many followers among instruction manual writers, it doesn't really help anyone looking for an actual answer.

The federal income tax is one of the many tools our central government masters use to confiscate our individual wealth in order to cover their outrageous expenses. In their eager attempt to be fair, they compromise beyond reason until any semblance of fairness is lost in the process. And in their misguided attempt to manipulate human behavior, they invariably create numerous unintended consequences, which requires another set of rules and regulations to correct. And on and on it goes. Problems are not resolved, they're expanded.

Since no one can understand the tax code in the first place, it's probably about as fair as a debate about the origin of the universe between a theoretical physicist and Nancy Pelosi's cat.

The Internal Revenue Service was set up to assist taxpayers. In a recent government study, 37% of taxpayers calling the IRS for information never get their calls answered. Of those who did, 47% were given the wrong answers.

The IRS is on the ball though when it comes to nailing taxpayers. Last year an accountant cost one of his clients a $10,000 penalty because he failed to put sufficient postage on the return to get it delivered in time.

The IRS also operates with the efficiency we have come to expect from our vast central government. Nearly half of the 30 million penalty notices the IRS mails out each year are erroneous. The IRS spent 11 years and 4 billion dollars on a new computer system that doesn't work. According to the General Accounting Office, the IRS has no clue how 64% of their present budget was spent, some $4.3 billion. Plus the GAO is unable to verify any of the IRS's financial statements from 1992 to 1996.

There's an old saying that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. Apparently, those who came up with our tax code had a lot of committee meetings.

If you were to stack all the tax publications of the IRS, the stack would be over five feet high and you would probably have a pulled groin.

This country should have a tax system that looks like someone with integrity and common sense actually designed it on purpose.


Quote for the Day -- "I'm proud to be paying taxes in the United States. The only thing is -- I could be just as proud for half the money." Arthur Godfrey


Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and 1040 reasons why he dislikes government. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111




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Best US Government money can--BUY?

if we had a Universal health care, run like France or Britain, our auto industry would never be under this financial pressure. No wonder our car manufacturers are in steep competition with foreign companies, because outside of the United States auto makers are subsidized. Not only does GMC, Ford and others have to add health care benefits to every vehicle off the conveyor belt, but they have likely millions of retirees who are still collecting health care services. Its a dream, but think of it? no intermediates like cold-hearted insurance companies. Run by a bunch of bean counters. I have first hand knowledge of their relentless activity, to use any gray-area possible to undercut services to you or a loved one. Serve you with all kinds of paperwork, to deceive you. Look for pre-existing conditions, charge you exorbitant premiums and co-pays.

Wouldn't be great to have a single payer system, where you pay your share to the government and your employer. Then you collect decent services such as doctor visits, specialty physician's, eye and dental care. Just like Europe, without the skulduggery of debt collectors, medical billing companies, civil courts or bankruptcy. I never, ever had to show any ID, to go and see a doctor. No receptionist was ready to photocopy your social security number, drivers license and insurance card? It's criminal thats it's a privilege in our nation--not a necessity abroad. Whereas it's the wealthy who don't appreciate Universal health care, because they have no intention in waiting a month or so. Yet while uninsured Americans have to jump through hoops for health care, illegal aliens who have stolen into our nation pay--NOTHING--for emergency services. Colds, flue, hang nail--they go to hospital and get it all for free. Well! that's not quite true? You! The taxpayer are their wealthy uncle. That's thanks to Sen.Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and other Senators, who think 40 million illegal aliens is great for America. Thats why they killed E-Verify in the Stimulus/Omnibus packages.

-- Posted by Brittanicus on Sun, Apr 5, 2009, at 3:19 PM

There is a big difference between what the Average American pays in taxes, and the average of what Americans pay in taxes.

Something like 85% of us are "below average," at least when it comes to federal taxes.

Lake Wobegon in reverse.

Notice how concentrated income is in the US. In 2006:

1% of us got 21.4% of the income;

the next 4% of us got 15.8% of the income;

the next 5% of us got 10.0% of the income.

So 10% of us shared 47.2%.

The next 40% of us got 38.2% of the income

The remaining 50% of us got 14.6% of the income.

(Source: Ponds and Streams, Arthur Kennickell, from the FRB's 2007 SCF.)

Illegal aliens aren't the problem. Worrying about them is a fine diversion to keep us from thoroughly researching what's actually going on.

Start with Henry George ... search on wealthandwant or lvtfan, or "quotable notables" or "quotable nobels" and you'll be taking a good step toward how we might create an economy which works for all of us.

-- Posted by LVTfan on Wed, Apr 15, 2009, at 6:23 PM

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Bret Burquest
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.
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