by Rick Gee
Let's talk about taxes. Specifically, the taxes that you, as a productive citizen who is engaged in providing your fellow man with a valued good or service, pay, under the threat of violence, so that the political classes can "invest" for the good of "society." Incidentally, Society doesn't really exist, any more than the ubiquitous "American People" exist. Only individuals live and breath and make decisions on their own behalf.
So, taxpayer, how much of your hard-earned dough are your rulers pilfering? First and foremost is the raid on your income. Here, the Feds wield a double-barreled shotgun (which will eventually be illegal for you to possess). Your penalty for pleasing your fellow man is to surrender 15.3% of your wages for Social Security and Medicare, illegal and unconstitutional programs that cause false hope about retirement income and many years of doctor visits, ensuring ever spiraling expenditures. The second barrel kicks in as anywhere from 15%-39.6% of your earnings are forfeited to the income tax. In case that doesn't finish you off, one of your 50 states (with very few exceptions, notably Tennessee) drives a stake into your heart with the state income tax.
From the money that is left, you must pay a property tax on your house. Renters gain no advantage here, as any landlord worth his salt will pass his burden onto the tenant. Next, you have to drive to work, and a healthy portion of the price of a gallon of gas goes to various taxing entities. To stay alive, you must eat and drink. You need clothing and cleaning supplies and movie tickets and hundreds of other products and services that are integral to life. For all of these and just about anything you buy at retail, you must pay a sales tax. If you consume tobacco and/or alcohol products, you pay the sales tax and countless excise taxes, so-called "sin taxes."
What about your utility bills? If you're like me, your phone bill, to use just one example, is 30% taxes. What this really means is that you are paying a 43% effective tax rate for the privilege of ordering a pizza.
Someday you will die, and if you've been productive, 55% of your estate will be swallowed by the state. In many cases, this onerous final insult may force you to sell off the family business before your death (instead of passing it on to Junior) in order to lessen the tribute to the state.
All of these taxes are levied at the business end of a gun. If you don't believe that, try not paying your property taxes. You will receive notices regarding the delinquent taxes. Should you ignore these warnings, you will eventually have your home seized by the state. If you refuse to leave your home, representatives of the state (read: jackbooted thugs) will pound on your door demanding that you relinquish your property. If you decline to come out, the agents with badges and guns will knock down your door and point those guns at you. Providing you resist, or dare to protect yourself and your property with your own weapons, you will almost certainly be shot.
With all of this in mind, why would you pay a voluntary tax? Haven't they taken enough already? Well, that's what you do every time you buy a lottery ticket. That dollar goes directly to the state, who runs the lottery like any spurious spending program, creating another distended bureaucracy that employs thousands of citizens who apparently can't find a job without the beneficence of the state. Ultimately, the overhead devours most of the gross take, and the purported beneficiaries, "the children" (the loot ostensibly goes to education), receive a small portion of the kitty. The dirty little secret is that lottery money spent on education frees up other dollars from general revenue that the pols use to reward their friends and punish their enemies.
But, you say, "Someone has to win the big Lotto jackpot. Why not me?" Why not? Because the odds against your winning are some 80 million to one. You have a more plausible chance of seeing Teddy Kennedy admit culpability for Chappequidick.
So, by purchasing a shot at that elusive dream, you not only pay an unnecessary additional direct tax, your payment of that tax indirectly increases the power of Leviathan over you and me. It's not worth it for an 80-million-to-one shot.
Rick Gee (send him mail) is a freelance writer residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico.