The Taxman Is Everywhere

Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Should five per cent appear too small
Be thankful I don’t take it all
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet

~The Beatles~

It is said that Ben Franklin once declared that only two things are certain in life; death and taxes. What I find ironic about that statement is that, even upon your death, you are taxed; with a sales tax being levied against your funeral costs. So, no matter what, when you die the government is going to get its cut out of you before your remains are laid to rest. If that does not disturb you then there is something wrong with your moral code.

There is something else I find ironic, that being that people seem to think it is their patriotic duty to pay their taxes; yet our country was established by a bunch of rebellious tax evaders and tax protesters. Our ancestors were so averse to taxes that they eventually went to war against their government because they didn’t like the idea that their government could tax them without their consent.

So, if you believe that it is my patriotic duty to pay my taxes, and shut up about it, I’m betting that you would not have been welcome in the taverns and meeting halls of Colonial America; where the talk focused on the tyrannical taxes being levied against the Colonies. In fact, I’m guessing that were you to walk into a tavern in 1776 and tell the Colonials to just pay their taxes and shut up, you’d probably be taken outside where you would be tarred and feathered.

It astounds me that every July 4th Americans celebrate the independence of their country, yet they hardly know what causes led them to seek that independence, and how their views on government and taxation are opposite of those they claim to be honoring on Independence Day. I simply do not understand how people can say that it is our patriotic duty to pay our taxes when the American Revolution was sparked by people who did not want to pay the taxes imposed upon them.

Do you happen to know what the leading argument against the government established by the Articles of Confederation was? There were actually a couple, but the primary one was the inability of the Congress to raise revenue; its inability to levy taxes. That weakness, (if you want to call it a weakness), along with the fact that their authority did not extend to the people is what the drafters of the constitution sought to change when they met in secret during the summer of 1787; they wanted to establish a system that could lay taxes upon the people directly.

I read a lot about how the taxing clause of the constitution is qualified by the powers that follow it; meaning that they can only lay taxes in order to fund the enactment of the specific powers found in Article 1, Section 8 of the constitution. That may be true, but the very first power found in Article 1, Section 8 is the power to lay taxes; and that power is not qualified by any limitations; it is limitless.

I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but the first true crisis under the constitution came when people refused to pay an excise tax upon whiskey; which led to President Washington to personally lead the militia into the state of Pennsylvania to put down opposition to that tax. So you see, even under the newly ratified constitution the people did not have the misguided belief that it was their patriotic duty to pay whatever taxes their government imposed upon them.

Getting back to the constitution, there were those among the people who felt that this power of unlimited taxation was a threat, a serious threat, to the people. Although they had other reasons to oppose the proposed document, (such as the consolidation of the States under a centralized government), these Anti-Federalists, as they came to be called, all spoke out in opposition to the taxing power being given to this government. Here are but a few of their quotes against that power:

-they are to be vested with every species of internal taxation–whatever taxes, duties and excises that they may deem requisite for the general welfare, may be imposed on the citizens of these states, levied by the officers of Congress, distributed through every district in America; and the collection would be enforced by the standing army, however grievous or improper they may be. (Samuel Bryan, writing as Centinel)

– The legislative power is competent to lay taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; — there is no limitation to this power, unless it be said that the clause which directs the use to which those taxes, and duties shall be applied, may be said to be a limitation. (Robert Yates, writing as Brutus)

– By virtue of their power of taxation, Congress may command the whole, or any part of the property of the people. They may impose what imposts upon commerce; they may impose what land taxes, poll taxes, excises, duties on all written instruments, and duties on every other article that they may judge proper; in short, every species of taxation, whether of an external or internal nature is comprised in section the 8th, of article the 1st. (From the Dissent of the Pennsylvania Minority)

-The clause under consideration gives an unlimited and unbounded power of taxation: Suppose every delegate from Virginia opposes a law laying a tax, what will it avail? They are opposed by a majority: Eleven members can destroy their efforts: Those feeble ten cannot prevent the passing the most oppressive tax law. So that in direct opposition to the spirit and express language of your Declaration of Rights, you are taxed not by your own consent, but by people who have no connection with you. (Patrick Henry, speech to Virginia Ratifying Assembly, June 5, 1788)

-You must also determine, that they shall have the exclusive power of imposts and the duties on imports and exports, the power of laying excises and other duties, and the additional power of laying internal taxes upon your lands, your goods, your chattels, as well as your persons at their sovereign pleasure: — That the produce of these several funds shall be appropriated to the use of the United States, and collected by their own officers, armed with a military force, if a civil aid should not prove sufficient. (John DeWitt)

And finally, there is this humdinger from Luther Martin’s Genuine Information No. 6:

– Congress may bring the decision of all questions relating to the conveyance, disposition and rights of property and every question relating to contracts between man and man into the courts of the general government. Their inferior courts in the first instance and the superior court by appeal. By the power to lay and collect imposts, they may impose duties on any or every article of commerce imported into these States to what amount they please. By the power to lay excises, a power very odious in its nature, since it authorises officers to go into your houses, your kitchens, your cellars, and to examine into your private concerns, the Congress may impose duties on every article of use or consumption, on the food that we eat on the liquors we drink on the cloathes that we wear the glass which enlighten our houses or the hearths necessary for our warmth and comfort. By the power to lay and collect taxes, they may proceed to direct taxation on every individual either by a capitation tax on their heads, or an assessment on their property. By this part of the section therefore, the government has a power to lay what duties they please on goods imported to lay what duties they please afterwards on whatever we use or consume to impose stamp duties to what amount they please, and in whatever cases they please afterwards to impose on the people direct taxes, by capitation tax, or by assessment, to what amount they choose, and thus to sluice them at every vein as long as they have a drop of blood, without any controul, limitation or restraint while all the officers for collecting these taxes, stamp duties, imposts and excises, are to be appointed by the general government, under its direction, not accountable to the States; nor is there even a security that they shall be citizens of the respective States, in which they are to exercise their offices; at the same time the construction of every law imposing any and all these taxes and duties, and directing the collection of them, and every question arising thereon, and on the conduct of the officers appointed to execute these laws, and to collect these taxes and duties so various in their kinds, are taken away from the courts of justice of the different States, and confined to the courts of the general government, there to be heard and determined by judges holding their offices under the appointment not of the States, but of the general government.)

Tell me with a straight face, if you can, that what Mr. Martin said does not accurately describe our current state of taxation under this wonderful system of government we have. (Said with a heavy dose of sarcasm)

Yet even with all that power of taxation, it wasn’t enough; they wanted more. So what did they do? Well, they proposed, and claimed it was ratified, (something I don’t believe for a second), an amendment giving them the authority to tax our income – the 16th Amendment. I won’t go into why I believe the 16th Amendment was never lawfully ratified; let it suffice to leave you with what it says, “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

The 16th Amendment led to the creation of the Internal Revenue Service; an agency falling under the authority of the Department of the Treasury; a cabinet position in the Executive Branch. The rules, or laws, that govern taxes and their collection are found in Title 26 of the United States Code; a massive section that is next to impossible to decipher.

The tax code of the United States is so complex that I once read where fictitious people and incomes were created, and teams of tax experts were taxed with completing tax returns for these fictitious people. The article I read stated that none of them came up with the same return; and they did this with multiple different fictions; proving that even the experts can’t figure out the tax code. Yet you can be fined and have your assets seized if you file an inaccurate tax return, or fail to claim certain income.

Not only that, but our income tax system is graduated; meaning the more you make the more you pay in taxes. The existing tax brackets start at 10% and work their way up to 37% depending upon how much you earn. That concept goes against what the constitution said as originally written, that all direct taxes must be apportioned; meaning spread out evenly among those paying them.

The tax codes which govern how much people will pay, and the manner of paying them, was originally codified in 1939 as part of the United States Statutes at Large. It was revised numerous times and in 1986 became Title 26 of the United States Code. I mention all that because in Section 61 of 26 USC there is something I would like to share with you; the definition of gross income: Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, gross income means all income from whatever source derived. Read that again, for it basically means that any money you get that you did not have before is considered income; therefore it is taxable.

That concept, in various forms, has been upheld numerous times in federal court; Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Glenshaw Glass Co.; Irwin, Former Collector of Internal Revenue v. Gavit; Douglas v. Willcuts, Collectors of Internal Revenue; Helvering, Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Clifford, and Cesarini v. United States.

So according to Title 26 of the US Code, and numerous court decisions, any money you come into possession of, no matter how you came into possession of it, is taxable income. That means if you’re walking down the road and find a $20 on the sidewalk, that $20 is taxable income and must be claimed on your tax returns as income. That last case I mentioned, Cesarini v. United States dealt with a family who bought a used piano for $15. Later they found over $4,000 stuffed inside it. The court held that the money they found was taxable income; the court even held it could not be taxed as a capital gain, it had to be taxed as income.

This recently came to the forefront when an Arkansas man visited a state park and found a 9 carat diamond on park property. According to state law Kevin Kinard, (the 33 yr old man who found the diamond), is allowed to keep the diamond. However, since it is of value it is considered income under federal tax laws; meaning Mr. Kinard has to pay income tax on it. He has yet to get the stone appraised, and if I were him I’d hang on to it without getting an appraisal; but once its value is determined he will be required to pay taxes upon it. It seems that no matter how you come into money, government wants to get their cut from it.

Most people are familiar with the more common forms of taxes; such as income tax, property tax, and sales tax; but I’m guessing there are quite a few taxes that people don’t even know exist. I’d like to share a few of the more outrageous ones with you; just to show you how greedy government is.

-One such tax is the Flush Tax in Maryland, where if you earn more than $100,000 per year you pay a higher tax every time you flush your toilet. Yes it’s a real tax; go look it up.

-If you have a trash tote you put your waste in, you’re paying a tax on it; it’s called a garbage tax and it was designed to reduce the amount of waste people produce by imposing a tax upon your garbage collection.

-There is a tax upon the use of the interstate highway system for those operating diesel powered vehicles.

-You pay a tax just to get married, or purchase an airline ticket.

-If you smoke or drink you pay additional taxes aside from the regular sales tax.

-You are charged a tax if you do not have health insurance. Thank you for that one Mr. Obama!

-You can be required to pay taxes if your state or local government decides to bring in a professional sports team into your area; which are used to construct the playing field. Didn’t know government had its hand in professional sports; but if there’s money to be made from it, why not, right?

-Here’s a strange one, Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Taxes. What this means is if you have a plan that gives you, say, 100 free minutes per month of phone time, but you only use 80 minutes, you can be charged a surcharge for the 20 minutes you DIDN’T use.

-Finally there is one I would like to discuss a bit more in detail; the Tanning Tax. Apparently under the Affordable Care Act you can be charged a tax for going to a tanning booth; at least if you do so just to get a tan.

According to the law, those using phototherapy for dermatological conditions, sleep disorders, or psychiatric disorders, (and I don’t know how getting a tan treats mental illnesses), and wound healing are exempt from this tax. But if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii and you don’t want to show up looking like Capser the Friendly Ghost, you will be taxed if you decide to use a tanning booth.

According to an article in Forbes magazine the government hoped to raise $2.7 billion from people using tanning booths, but after 5 years in place the tax has only generated $500 million in revenue for the government. However, this tax has had negative effects upon the economy. According to the American Suntanning Association, (and yes there is such a thing), nearly 10,000 tanning salons have gone out of business due to this tax, with a resulting loss of 81,000 jobs. Well done Obamacare, well-fucking-done!

Government hits us with all kinds of hidden taxes that we rarely think about. You want to go hunting or fishing – the license you get is a tax. You want to remodel your house – the building permit is a tax. You want to drive your car – your vehicle registration is a tax. You want to go visit a state park – your entrance fee is a tax; just don’t pick up any diamonds while you’re there. Let us not forget the tariffs the government imposes upon imported goods; which result in you paying more at the grocery store.

You would think with all this money flowing into government’s pockets they’d have plenty to run things in this country; but sadly that is not the case. Just look at our ballooning national debt and you’ll realize that even with all the money they are stealing from us through taxation, it still isn’t enough; they have to borrow more.

But that doesn’t seem to bother most people; especially those on the receiving end of all the benefits and services government provides; as long as it is other people’s money, who cares, right?

In closing I’d like to leave you with something to think about; a quote made by Alexander Fraser Tytler a long time ago, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the people discover they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the canidate promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that democracy always collapses over a loose fiscal policy–to be followed by a dictatorship.”

Think about that, would you; is that the future you want for this country – a dictatorship? Well if it is, you don’t have to wait much longer, it’s almost here now; just keep asking government to do more for you and it will be here soon enough.

About Br'er Rabbit

I'm just one person out of millions of others. The only thing different about me is that I don't walk around with my head up my ass.
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One Response to The Taxman Is Everywhere

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