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Theodore Roosevelt Quote

The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price, peace-at-any-price, safety first instead of duty-first, the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.

ideas > Americans and Federal Income Tax

Americans and Federal Income Tax
In a recent Gallup Poll (read the poll), 53% of Americans indicated that they paid too much federal income tax. In this same poll, the lower and middle class feel they pay too much tax and that the upper class pays too little. I have two questions. First, why is the tax rate too high if most Americans feel they pay too much? Second, as a consequence of the lower and middle-class American's feelings that the rich are taxed too little, the government is empowered to tax the rich more. Why do Americans feel it is ok to basically "steal from the rich to give to the poor"? How is this kind of attitude consonant with the principles of individual freedom this country was founded upon? The answers are quite simple. This country is no longer run based on its founding principles. The American people, even though they disagree with the current tax structure, are content with never giving their representatives an earful by calling them and complaining. Instead they sit at home watching their big screen TV and merrily let the government dance along taking more and more of their money in creative and innovative ways. To top it off, they then allow the government to tell a group of people that they have been too successful and therefore the government will take a disproportionate amount of their income and give it to someone else who hasn't been as successful no matter what the reasons are for their lack of success. In essence, the American people have allowed the government to engage in something akin to thuggery. Since when does the government have the moral authority to do this? If I as a human being do not have the right to walk up to Bill Gates and tell him that I think he has too much money and therefore he must give it to me, then why would I think that I have the right to allow my government who derives its rights from my consent to do this thing. It is wrong. And we wonder how oftentimes, throughout history, a seemingly peaceful people can sit idly by as their government commits acts of atrocity and murder. It is because people would rather be content and secure instead of fighting for what is right.

Our founding fathers understood completely that the threat of greatest danger was concentrated government power and the only way to concentrate government power is to take away people's freedoms through taxation of most of their income. Economic freedom and political freedom are intertwined. You can't have one without the other. In a world of money, money is freedom and when the government takes half your money, they have effectively taken half if not more of your freedom.

To solve this problem of the government both encroaching on our freedoms by taking too much of our money and spending money unwisely, the only solution would seem to be a low flat tax.

I see several benefits of a tax this low. First, it would shrink the size of the federal government. The founding fathers realized that the size of the federal government was a threat to freedom. The more centralized government becomes, the less individual freedom one has. Second, it would serve as a permanent check to the size of the federal government. No politician would dare raise the tax too high because it would squeeze the poor and middle class too much and they make up the largest portion of voters. Third, it would return the money to the American people who are infinitely more wise than the federal government in how to spend it. Fourth, it would replace economic security with economic freedom. Hasn't this country always been for freedom and not security? What did Benjamin Franklin, the wise statesman, once say about these two principles? He said, paraphrasing, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." Do you feel like you are less free today than you were in the past? Perhaps it is because your representatives are offering you more security, taking away your liberty, and in the end will be able to deliver neither.

To sum it up, if 53 percent of Americans want lower taxes, why when I call my representatives do they act befuddled, like they've never received this question? It is because probably 99 percent of that 53 percent never let's their voice be heard. If you feel that you pay too much tax, give your representative an earful. Make them respond to you through your calls, emails, and letters. They will respond, because if one thing is certain, these people do not want to be voted out because this is the best job they have ever had. Also, Americans need to quit allowing politicians to divide them along the lines of rich and poor. To require your government to take something from someone that you would not individually do is immoral. The solution to this problem is the have a low flat tax, because it naturally limits the size of the federal government and returns freedom and money to the people. As Milton Friedman once said, "The only person who can truly persuade you is yourself. You must turn the issues over in your mind at leisure, consider the many arguments, let them simmer, and after a long time turn your preferences into convictions." I have done this and I have decided to take sides with freedom and liberty with all its wonderful uncertainties, because I realize, like Benjamin Franklin, that if I choose security that in the end I will end up with neither.
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