Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Not Paying All Taxes Due—Just Disloyalty Or Treason As Well?

It’s simple enough, even for people who think Texas is an independent nation; —-Not paying all your taxes at a time of war, or at anytime, is an act of disloyalty. To some, including myself, it might even be a kind of treason.

With the tax filing deadline this weekend, tax cheating and tax avoidance is rampant. Estimates run at $ 300 billion lost to our government from the underreporting of income and other tax avoidance schemes. This is money that legally and ethically belongs to all people. Real wealth is about the commonwealth.

A victory for the American people was the recent demise of the Jenkins & Gilchrest law firm of Dallas. That firm specialized in helping wealthy clients use sham shelters to avoid taxes.

Of course, the obligation to pay taxes goes all the way down the income scale. The underreporting of tips and other under the table income also weakens our country. It chips away at the sense of shared obligation that is an important measure of national strength.

A way to encourage all people to pay taxes would be to repeal the Bush tax cuts that shifted the tax burden downwards and to step up enforcement of tax law violations. People will respond better to a system they see as fair to all.

It’s easy to say you love America. It is, it seems, a bit more difficult for some to back up that claim with something more tangible than empty words.

April 13, 2007 - Posted by | Taxes---Yes!

36 Comments »

  1. Wouldn’t a flat tax be the fairest thing? I understand it’s easier said than done but if the government just said, “Ok everyone pay __ % of your income, nothing more nothing less”?

    Maybe I’m too idealistic…

    Comment by Laz | April 13, 2007

  2. No. The progressive income tax is a cornerstone of basic fairness and social jusitce in our country. Sales taxes are regressive in this way. It’s telling that a backwards place like Texas has a high sales tax and no income tax at all.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 13, 2007

  3. So why isn’t a flat tax fair? Can’t think of anything more fair than everyone paying the same proportion out of their incomes.

    Comment by Laz | April 13, 2007

  4. It just gets down to how you see this question. A view that those who can pay more should pay a larger percentage is going to be a subjective view. It’s one that has been argued up and down over the years. The progressive income tax is one the great victories of the Progressive Era of Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. It’s at the core of my views. I can understand the objection. I just don’t buy it.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 13, 2007

  5. Well I’m not wealthy and on some level making them pay more is appealing but fair is fair isn’t it? Besides the system in place now, allows the rich to find loopholes and thus ultimately pay less taxes.

    I understand that no system is loophole-free but the flat tax seems more immune to loopholes.

    Comment by Laz | April 13, 2007

  6. Then we should fix the loopholes. The flat tax is immune to basic social fairness.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 13, 2007

  7. THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK IS A PRIVATE COMPANY

    In 1913 International Bankers created our national banking system, better known as the Federal Reserve System. Using banks that they have privately owned for centuries they created the Federal Reserve System as a vehicle by which to steal our nations entire supply of gold and they have left us holding paper money that will ultimately become worthless. They have used the IRS to intimidate us with financial ruin if we dare to resist their tyrannical system of taxation.

    Wake up before its to late!

    Comment by Mike | April 13, 2007

  8. Click on my name mike above if you would like to read more.

    Comment by Mike | April 13, 2007

  9. Mike–Thank you for your comments. Keeping the pot stirred has value. Have you read Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics? It’s a winner.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 13, 2007

  10. I agree the tax should be paid on sliding scale. I think that the richest should contribute more and the poorest the least. I do however disagree with the estate tax or as its called the death tax. You take a poor or rich family and they have paid tax on the income. property tax each year if property is owned. Sales tax on all the work that has been done to the property as well as sales tax on all items if the estate. now lets say i am x years old worth x amount of money and I die and want my daughter to have what i have worked my whole life for and paid taxes every inch of the way. That should be hands off to everyone.

    Comment by bill brady | April 14, 2007

  11. If there was no “death tax” how many generations would it take for the Bill Gates of the world to own everything. If their billions were compounded yearly by them or their heirs, how much money would they have. If they have all the money how long till they buy your property, remember price is no object as they will soon get it back from you when you want to buy something and they own it all.

    Comment by Cliff | April 14, 2007

  12. A few comments. Take a look at the IRS statistics and you’ll find by and large the rich do shoulder the vast majority of the tax burden. I forget the exact numbers, but I believe something like the top 2% pay 80% of the total income receipts. In fact, if you count making around 200K and more as “rich”, then the numbers really jump. Sure, 200K is a great deal of money but I wouldn’t define that number as rich and certainly not super rich. There is a misnomer that the rich do not pay their fair share. True, there are plenty of tax avoiders (a certain Presidential candidate’s wife comes to mind), but take a lot at the statistics available on the IRS’ website. You’ll find a wealth of data and raw numbers. Can somebody out there look at the data and tell us what amount would be fair in terms of rich shouldering the debt. Shoudl they pay 99%? And what income level do you consider “rich”? There is a social responsibility, however, there is also a right to go out and stake your claim and to keep what you earn.

    Taxes are not meant to completely redistribute wealth. Combining some social equity along with maximizing tax receipts should be the goal. I’m not saying maximize tax receipts at all costs, such as by over taxing the poor or middle class. However, I am saying if cutting tax rate, including at the upper brackets will actually generate more tax revenue, what’s wrong with that? Would you rather the government have LESS money just so you can say you “stuck it to the rich guy?” And I believe even with the current tax cuts, tax receipts have INCREASED.

    Lastly – the death tax is a joke. If you are wealthy enough, you can afford to avoid this tax COMPLETELY. If people out there actually believe it prevents “dynasties” because it helps eliminate generational wealth, then just look around. We have plenty of families with generational wealth don’t we? No, the death tax out there screws those who don’t have the liquidity to properly plan for it. Think of a family owned business, a farm, whatever. The business may be worth several million dollars, however, it doesn’t mean that family has that much cash, its all tied up in the business. What happens is the business gets broken up in order to pay for the 50%+ estate tax while others like the Rockefellers, Kennedys, etc get a free pass. So if you believe that the death tax actually PREVENTS generational wealth, don’t take my word for it, look around!

    Comment by Nathan | April 14, 2007

  13. Would a President who pardoned a tax evader be disloyal or treasonous as well?

    Comment by Nathan | April 14, 2007

  14. In reply to Nathan, I’d simply say that the tax code is the best way to ensure that the gap between rich and poor not become so great that the poor and what is left of the middle class don’t have a shot at a decent life. I don’t have an absolute number of at what income someone is rich or at what exact rate people should be taxed. I just know that the trend is going the wrong way. I’d also remind any reader who has reached this, the 14th comment, that tax cheating and tax evasion was a lot of what I was talking about as well as the need for a progressive income tax.

    In response to Nathan’s other question, I suppose a President can pardon anybody he wishes.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 14, 2007

  15. If I buy a used car it has already been taxed. Now I have to pay MORE tax since I now own it. When I sell it someone else will have to pay tax on it AGAIN. If they sell it to another party it will get taxed yet again. This makes 4 TIMES already for the same vehicle. Enough already! ONCE is sufficient. That goes for a lot of other things as well.

    Comment by Chris | April 14, 2007

  16. I agree people should pay taxes, but not for the reasons you mention. And I believe all people who benefit from taxes should also have to pay something to give us all a sense of ownership.

    Comment by Michael | April 14, 2007

  17. I definitely agree that tax cheating and tax evasion is disloyal. I guess one thing that hasn’t been clarified – would you consider avoidance (which is legal) disloyal as well? I think the bottom line is that the tax code is so complex, so full of loop-holes, etc, that no matter what tax rate you set, there will be ways around it (legal and illegal). The more “punitive” you make taxes, the more it encourages people to avoid and evade. LIke you, I believe those who make more should shoulder a bigger burden, I think where we diverge is how much is enough/not enough. I definitely don’t believe taxes should be in place for major redistribution of wealth. Also, look at the AMT taxes, which was designed to hit the wealthy if they tried to take too many deductions. It hasn’t been properly adjusted for inflation and now you see more and more middle class hit by this tax. Of course the government is addicted to this cash flow and will never raise the AMT (repubs tried to raise the AMT but were rebuffed) so that it only affects the wealthy segment of the population.

    I agree with Chris, we pay double, triple and more taxation on the same income or goods. This happens with vehicle sales, estate taxes, etc. Taxes are there to fund the government in my opinion, nothing else. It shouldn’t be used in punitive manners against any segment of society. As a society, we still should want to encourage wealth growth, business growth, and generally encourage those to better their lives. It is my humble opinion that no matter what you set the tax rate at, the rich still won’t be paying what you feel they should be paying. Who gets hit, no matter what with the current tax code, are the middle class. A transparent, easy to understand tax code (such as a flat tax rate or consumption based tax rate) could eliminate many of these problems. You could still have standard deductions where the poor would not pay any taxes. But it would be harder to get around and be more efficient in general. The goal of taxes should be to maximize tax receipts while not stiffling the economy or growth and by setting a reasonable burden on each segment. Those who argue about the tax cuts seem to only look at the dollar amount rather than percentages. Its just going to be that a guy making $10 million will see a bigger dollar amount in savings than someone making $50 grand simply because they already pay much, much more. More important is to look at percentages.

    Comment by Nathan | April 14, 2007

  18. Would you find it acceptable for Kroger to charge you differential prices for products, based upon your income? If not, how can one even begin to argue in favor of a progressive income tax?

    Comment by Rhymes With Right | April 15, 2007

  19. Cliff we disagree. My parents both died in debt and its not because the man held them down or because Bill Gates or the Waltons are smart and to a degree lucky. But that is ok, I stand the death tax is bullshit.

    Rhymes comparing the pregressive tax code to shopping at krogers is silly.

    Comment by Bill Brady | April 15, 2007

  20. Neil, at the risk degressing ( progressing?) into yet another philosophical discussion,

    The flat tax is immune to basic social fairness.

    Social fairness? I agree (probably for a different reason), it is something to be sought, but given that Nature doesn’t work like this ( the whole “elimination of the unfit” thing, the weak are not protected and so on) and if we are solely products of Nature (in the view of some) why the concern with “social fairness”, that is the concern to protect the weak in society?

    It’s inconceivable how a flat tax is not the fairest system (I’m assuming that “fairness” = “social fairness”).

    Comment by Laz | April 15, 2007

  21. Bill Brady is a good and great person though I think wrong on the matter of the estate tax.

    Laz–You know I’m for my view of what social justice or fairness is because it’s the best view I can come up with based on my reading and observations and my what my life has been so far. I have strong views but in the end they are all a roll of the dice. Just like life.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 15, 2007

  22. A flat tax is a fair tax. I pay enough in taxes for the sick, lame and mostly lazy. While I am busting my back to provide a nice life for my family others are lying on their backs providing more illegitimate children to drain the finite tax dollar. They should be slapped in the face and publicly stoned for even speaking about the unfairness of a flat tax. Here is a free gem; get off your lazy ass, get dressed and go earn your wealth. Then let me here your opinion on taxes.

    Comment by lexloci | April 15, 2007

  23. Sorry for my malapropisms, but I think you get my point

    Comment by lexloci | April 15, 2007

  24. Yes, your point is that people should be slapped and stoned.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 15, 2007

  25. What’s “fair” about a progressive tax schedule? How is it “fair” that the rich should pay a higher percentage than the middle class or poor? What in that discrimination is “fair.”

    You have a peculiar definition of “fair.” In America everyone has the opportunity to enrich themselves. There are no guardians at the gates of wealth telling those who aspire to wealth, “You may not enter here!”

    Those who see limitations are looking at self-imposed limitations. How does penalizing the successful lead to a more productive and prosperous nation? These old socialist ideas have been thoroughly discredited by history.

    The least profitable and trouble nations on Earth are those who espouse the philosophy which you seem to embrace. Nations with high tax burdens and a paternalistic intrusive government, like France and Germany have far weaker economies and higher unemployment than nations that embrace a free economy.

    Stop looking to others to do for you what you should be doing for yourself. The progressive tax system is simply a system to take from those who produce and give to those who don’t. It serves to lower the standard of living of all involved.

    With all of that being said, your initial thought… that of those who evade and cheat on their taxes is a fundamental truth. You are correct, it is treasonous.

    Comment by Will Malven | April 15, 2007

  26. It costs the same to pave a third-ward street as it costs to pave River Oaks Blvd. Or to dispatch a firetruck. It has long been established that the wealthier you are the less tax dollars are spent on you. And the poor get a larger percentage of public funds than the wealthy.

    Progressive taxation over-taxes the wealthy (who can more easily pay it) to be able to spend more on the poor (who in many cases do not pay any taxes at all, but get a check for child credits simply for having them.)

    In other words, “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Of course, Karl Marx said it first…

    Comment by Richard Sohn | April 15, 2007

  27. The entire argument over taxes is a waste of time. Either you agree with the confiscation of another person’s productivity by threat of force, or you don’t. I personally don’t agree that another person’s productivity is mine to claim, for any reason, and certainly not by force.

    Comment by AntiState | April 15, 2007

  28. The first great lesson to learn about taxation is that taxation is simply robbery. No more and no less. For what is “robbery”? Robbery is the taking of a man’s property by the use of violence or the threat thereof, and therefore without the victim’s consent. And yet what else is taxation?

    Those who claim that taxation is, in some mystical sense, really “voluntary” should then have no qualms about getting rid of that vital feature of the law which says that failure to pay one’s taxes is criminal and subject to appropriate penalty.

    But does anyone seriously believe that if the payment of taxation were really made voluntary, say in the sense of contributing to the American Cancer Society, that any appreciable revenue would find itself into the coffers of government? Then why don’t we try it as an experiment for a few years, or a few decades, and find out?

    But if taxation is robbery, then it follows as the night the day that those people who engage in, and live off, robbery are a gang of thieves. Hence the government is a group of thieves, and deserves, morally, aesthetically, and philosophically, to be treated exactly as a group of less socially respectable ruffians would be treated.

    Comment by AntiState | April 15, 2007

  29. In Economics, taxes are known as DWL – Dead Weight Loss. That’s one of the reasons why, like Malvin pointed out, economies with high tax burdens are weaker economies. They don’t bring in higher tax receipts, economic stability is poorer, investments are fewer than in countries with lower tax rates. Point in fact is that the tax cuts recently introduced have brought in record tax receipts. And these are not on the back of the poor or middle class. 80-90% of the tax receipts are funded by those making 200K or more, with a huge percentage (something like 70-75%) funded by those who makes millions. Economists understand that taxes do not “flow the same” through the general economy and do affect a nation’s output. Taxes are here to stay and its necessary, but many disagree to the purpose of taxes. In my opinion, its not to address what some think of as “social inequality”, why somebody doesn’t have as much as another, etc. Tax the rich so it breaks their backs will produce one of two things (or a combination) – they will either evade taxes and not pay OR they’ll be out of business. Like it or not, the rich and corporations furnish us with work, no matter if you work for a company or are self-employed. So if we want to get rid of any incentive in this country to accumulate wealth, everybody will suffer.

    A fair tax is a consumption based tax with exemptions for necessities. If you spend, you pay. If you are richer, you spend more and you pay more. Disposable income increases and for everyone who gets a tax refund at the end of the year, no more loaning your money to the government interest free. The elitists in Washington who claim to be champions of the poor and can’t wait to repeal the tax cuts are the same ones who’ll be able to avoid taxes and shelter their money. They make the rules, then play the game. Guess who wins?

    Comment by Nathan | April 15, 2007

  30. To learn more on ‘fair’ taxes (Theft by Government) read this:
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard149.html

    Comment by AntiState | April 16, 2007

  31. AntiState–What a handle! I wonder if anti-state would reject help when the city fire department comes if his or her house were burning.

    Comment by neilaquino | April 16, 2007

  32. It’s a good thing you’re not bitter lex…

    Comment by Laz | April 16, 2007

  33. “It chips away at the sense of shared obligation that is an important measure of national strength”? In a nation without borders governed by a coporate oligarchy you have a situation where there has been and will continue to be a steady deterioration of national “identity”. Imposing ever higher taxes upon the middle class will do nothing to aleviate that problem. Indeed, as those who aren’t members of the weathy elite pay an ever increasing amount of taxes disproportionate to the benefit derived, they soon become anti-government. As a hypothetical demonstraction consider the following, as imigration of Muslims, for example, increases and the government proves again it’s impotence to stop violence weilded against non-muslims, non-muslims may decide it’s cheaper to pay “protection” money to Haitian gangs to protect them than it is to continue to pay taxes to an arrogant, crippled and ineffective Uncle Sam. And one other of your corrolaries may be in error as well, i.e., increase a sense of fairness by repealing the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Doing so will simply force the wealthy to offshore their wealth and themselves exacerbating the inevitable recession and forcing ever higher taxes on the middle class. Those of us in the middle will have no choice but to intentionally “drop down” out of the middle income by leaving jobs as “employees” and taking part time jobs as consultants to drastically reduce reportable income, hopefully to the point of being a total “recipient” of soon to be mandated universal health care while making up the difference off the books. BTW, uping taxation to cure a fading national identity during a time of rampant migration immigration concomittant with a failing central government has failed before. Examine the history of the Byzintine Empire.

    Thanks,
    Glide

    Comment by glide625 | April 16, 2007

  34. The Idea of sliding tax rate,consumption tax(sales tax),FLAT TAX ,or what ever method you favor,all have arguable flaws.So,lets look at the real problem.Its your greedy government-Congress and Adminisration.Massive pork bills that are no more than electioneering,get re-elected no matter what the cost.The Administration’s perpetual budget busting overspending.Bush contributed to expanding the national debt,but each administration has contributed to the seven or eight trillion national debt,and folks,that is real serious.The greedy pork minded Congress will never do what they need to do-pass a balanced budget amendment,and stop this spiraling upward national debt.Then,and only then,will we get our debt system under control,and virtually any tax system can be developed that considers.both the wealthy and the poor,and the middle class will work.Socialism must be avoided completly.
    edfs

    Comment by Edward Stimach | April 16, 2007

  35. neilaquino Says:
    April 16th, 2007 at 3:18 pm
    AntiState–What a handle! I wonder if anti-state would reject help when the city fire department comes if his or her house were burning.

    there is absolutely NO SERVICE provided by the state that can not be provided by the market. And, those services would be inherently more efficient and cost effective. Let’s not forget the most important point: Voluntary. The State is compulsion by threat of force. Period. Taxes are NOTHING MORE than robbery (theft by threat or use of force). Everyone carps on with their pro-state arguments with such sophistries as “Schools! Roads! Military!” as if these were argument that justify the state or the confiscation of approxumately 50% of your productive output. (Yes, about 50% of your income is stolen by government, through both direct and indirect taxtion).

    People produce and add value to everyone around them.
    Governments CONSUME and substract value from everything around them.

    Comment by AntiState | April 17, 2007

  36. Taxes touch the root of a basic argument: Do you or don’t you agree with transferring the right to use force against you to an external group? Government, by definition, is a limitation on rights and holds the only legal monopoly on the use of violence. Force vs. Voluntary Cooperation is the basic issue. You choose.

    Comment by AntiState | April 18, 2007


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