Pay Up or Die

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“I like to pay taxes. With them, I buy civilization.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Because I don’t like to pay taxes, I was intrigued by the title of the article by Stephen Foster that I was directed to titled: “102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes.” The article is a liberal defense of the legitimacy of the government (usually federal, but sometimes state or local) confiscating a portion of Americans’ incomes and redistributing and reallocating the incomes because the government provides certain services. Implied throughout the article is the myth that none of the 102 things listed “NOT to do” would exist without the government. The above Holmes quote appears at the end of the article.

Before the list of the 102 things “NOT to do if you hate taxes,” the article is prefaced with this statement: “So, you’re a Republican that hates taxes? Well, since you do not like taxes or government, please kindly do the following.”

Since when do Republicans hate taxes? Since when do Republicans not like taxes or government other than when it is Democrats collecting the taxes and running the government? There is only one Republican member of Congress that I am aware of who has called for the complete elimination of the federal income tax – Ron Paul. Although I am not a Republican, since I still “hate taxes” and “do not like taxes or government,” I feel compelled to analyze the list of things I should not do.

What follows is Foster’s complete list of 102 things that no one should do if he hates taxes – all followed by my comments.

1. Do not use Medicare.

It is not the job of government to pay for medical care or have anything to do with medicine. But if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to get my money back one way or another even if I have to use the service.

2. Do not use Social Security.

It is not the job of government to operate a retirement/disability system. But if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to get my money back one way or another even if I have to use the service.

3. Do not become a member of the US military, who are paid with tax dollars.

First of all, who would want to be a member of the U.S. military in the first place? Secondly, most of what the military spends is on offense and should be cut from the budget. And third, the United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble funding a military before then.

4. Do not ask the National Guard to help you after a disaster.

It is not the job of the government to help anyone after a disaster. And it is a myth that no one would be helped after a disaster if the government did not send help. The American people are a resourceful and generous people.

5. Do not call 911 when you get hurt.

It is not the job of the government to provide 911 services. And it is a myth that this service could not be provided by the private sector.

6. Do not call the police to stop intruders in your home.

Especially when it is the police who are intruding in your home. More intruders are stopped dead every year with a gun than are stopped dead by police who don’t arrive until after you are dead or have been robbed.

7. Do not summon the fire department to save your burning home.

It is not the job of the government to fight fires. And it is a myth fires would never be put out if the government did not provide fire fighters. Many fire departments are private and/or volunteer.

8. Do not drive on any paved road, highway, and interstate or drive on any bridge.

It is not the job of government to construct roads, highways, interstates, or bridges. And it is a myth that there would be no roads and bridges if the government did not construct them. In early American, most roads and bridges were privately owned and some of them are privately owned today. See Thomas DiLorenzo’s “The Role of Private Transportation in America’s 19th-Century “Internal Improvements” Debate” and Walter Block’s The Privatization of Roads & Highways.

9. Do not use public restrooms.

It is not the job of government to provide restrooms. And it is a myth that no one would be able to find a restroom while traveling or walking about without the help of government. Any American can walk into any McDonalds anywhere and use the restroom.

10. Do not send your kids to public schools.

It is not the job of government to operate schools or have anything to do with education. And it is a myth that no one would be educated without government schools. Public schools are a recent development in American history. And just look at the multitude of private schools and parents that homeschool their children.

11. Do not put your trash out for city garbage collectors.

It is not the job of government to collect trash. And it is a myth that trash would not be collected if the government did not collect it. Many areas of the country rely on privately owned garbage collection companies.

12. Do not live in areas with clean air.

It is not the job of government to make sure that the air is clean. And it is a myth that the air would not be clean if the government did not establish air quality standards and mandate that they be followed.

13. Do not drink clean water.

It is not the job of government to make sure that drinking water is clean. And it is a myth that no drinking water would be clean if the government did not establish clean water standards and mandate that they be followed.

14. Do not visit National Parks.

It is not the job of government to designate National Parks. And it is a myth that there would be no large parks if the government did not designate them. But if the government is going to designate National Parks, then it should have user fees so that the ones who visit are the ones who pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to get my money’s worth. See Gary North’s “The National Parks: The Super-Rich’s Greatest Idea.”

15. Do not visit public museums, zoos, and monuments.

It is not the job of government to operate museums, zoos, and monuments. And it is a myth that no museums, zoos, and monuments worth seeing would exist if the government did not operate them. There are probably thousands of museums, zoos, and monuments across the country that are privately owned. But if the government is going to operate museums, zoos, and monuments, then it should have user fees so that the ones who visit are the ones who pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to get my money’s worth.

16. Do not eat or use FDA inspected food and medicines.

It is not the job of government to inspect food or medicines or have an agriculture department or have anything to do with medicine. And it is a myth that no food or medicines would be inspected without the government inspecting them. Can Americans not even eat without government assistance?

17. Do not bring your kids to public playgrounds.

It is not the job of government to construct playgrounds. And it is a myth that kids would have no playgrounds if the government did not construct them. Many private developments now have playgrounds for the children of residents.

18. Do not walk or run on sidewalks.

It is not the job of government to construct or mandate or control sidewalks. I am looking out my office window at the sidewalk in front of my house as I type this and government is the last thing that comes to my mind. But for safety reasons, I don’t recommend that anyone run on the sidewalk.

19. Do not use public recreational facilities such as basketball and tennis courts.

It is not the job of government to construct recreational facilities. And it is a myth that recreational facilities would not exist if the government did not build them.

20. Do not seek shelter facilities or food in soup kitchens when you are homeless and hungry.

It is not the job of government to shelter the homeless or feed the poor in soup kitchens. And it is a myth that the homeless would not be sheltered or the poor fed if the government did not operate or fund shelters and soup kitchens. Ever heard of rescue missions? They have been taking care of the physical and spiritual needs of the down-and-out for decades.

21. Do not apply for educational or job training assistance when you lose your job.

It is not the job of government to provide educational or job training assistance when you lose your job. And it is a myth that no one would receive educational or job training assistance if the government did not provide it.

22. Do not apply for food stamps when you can’t feed your children.

It is not the job of government to issue food stamps to the poor. And it is a myth that the poor would go hungry if the government did not issue them food stamps. See my article “Food Stamp Politicians.”

23. Do not use the judiciary system for any reason.

Good idea. Now, if only the government would quit charging people with victimless crimes and forcing them to use the judicial system.

24. Do not ask for an attorney when you are arrested and do not ask for one to be assigned to you by the court.

It is not the job of government to provide attorneys. And if the government would quit arresting people for victimless and made-up crimes, then few would need to ask for an attorney.

25. Do not apply for any Pell Grants.

It is not the job of government to provide Pell Grants or have anything to do with education. And it is a myth that no one would go to college without a Pell Grant. Americans went to college for hundreds of years before Pell Grants.

26. Do not use cures that were discovered by labs using federal dollars.

It is not the job of government to fund labs to discover cures for anything. And it is a myth that no cures would be discovered if the government did not fund labs. But regardless of who discovered them in the past, that is no reason not to use them now.

27. Do not fly on federally regulated airplanes.

It is not the job of government to regulate the airline industry or any other industry. And it is a myth that airlines would not be safe or operate as now without government regulations. I should also note that the federal government deregulated much of the airline industry beginning in 1979.

28. Do not use any product that can trace its development back to NASA.

It is not the job of government to have a space agency or develop products. See my article “Not Even the Sky Is the Limit.”

29. Do not watch the weather provided by the National Weather Service.

It is not the job of government to operate a weather service. And it is a myth that no one would know the weather if the government did not operate a weather service. But if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to watch to my heart’s content.

30. Do not listen to severe weather warnings from the National Weather Service.

It is not the job of government to issue severe weather warnings. And it is a myth that no one would be warned about severe weather if the government did not do the warning. But if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to listen to my heart’s content.

31. Do not listen to tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake alert systems.

It is not the job of government to issue alerts for tsunamis, hurricanes, or earthquakes. And it is a myth that no one would be alerted to tsunamis, hurricanes, or earthquakes if the government did not do the alerting. But if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to listen to my heart’s content.

32. Do not apply for federal housing.

It is not the job of the government to provide housing or have anything to do with the housing industry. And it is a myth that the poor would have no housing if the government did not provide it. Government housing is a recent development in American history. And the vast majority of housing is privately owned.

33. Do not use the internet, which was developed by the military.

This is about as simplistic as saying that Al Gore created the Internet. No one who knew anything about the history of the Internet would make such a vague and crude statement.

34. Do not swim in clean rivers.

It is not the job of government to make sure that rivers are clean. And it is a myth that no rivers would be clean if the government did not establish river water standards and mandate that they be followed.

35. Do not allow your child to eat school lunches or breakfasts.

It is not the job of government to fund school lunches or breakfasts. And not everyone who eats breakfast or lunch at school has it paid for by the government.

36. Do not ask for FEMA assistance when everything you own gets wiped out by disaster.

It is not the job of government to provide anyone disaster assistance. And it is a myth that no one would receive assistance if the government did not provide it. The American people are a resourceful and generous people.

37. Do not ask the military to defend your life and home in the event of a foreign invasion.

The military is so busy fighting foreign wars and occupying foreign countries that Americans would be better off defending themselves.

38. Do not use your cell phone or home telephone.

What phones have to do with the government is beyond my comprehension.

39. Do not buy firearms that wouldn’t have been developed without the support of the US Government and military. That includes most of them.

How do we know that these firearms wouldn’t have been developed without the support of the U.S. government and military? But regardless of who developed them in the past, that is no reason not to use them now. How else will Americans be able to protect themselves from their government and military?

40. Do not eat USDA inspected produce and meat.

It is not the job of government to inspect produce and meat or have an agriculture department. And it is a myth that no produce or meat would be inspected without the government inspecting it. Can Americans not even eat without government assistance?

41. Do not apply for government grants to start your own business.

It is not the job of government to give grants to anyone to start a business. And it is a myth that no one would start a business if the government did not provide grants. Ever heard of venture capitalists? Ever heard of Steve Jobs or Michael Dell?

42. Do not apply to win a government contract.

Most government contracts should be eliminated. The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble paying for government contracts before then

43. Do not buy any vehicle that has been inspected by government safety agencies.

It is not the job of government to inspect products or have safety agencies. Ever heard of Underwriters Laboratories? It is a private organization.

44. Do not buy any product that is protected from poisons, toxins, etc…by the Consumer Protection Agency.

It is not the job of government to protect products from poisons or toxins or have a Consumer Protection Agency. And it is a myth that products would be dangerous without government protection. There is no reason why private consumer protection agencies could not do the job.

45. Do not save your money in a bank that is FDIC insured.

It is not the job of government to be in the insurance business or have anything to do with banking.

46. Do not use Veterans benefits or military health care.

We have too many veterans because of our senseless foreign wars. And who would want to experience the horrors of military health care?

47. Do not use the G.I. Bill to go to college.

Again, we have too many veterans because of our senseless foreign wars. It is not the job of government to have anything to do with education.

48. Do not apply for unemployment benefits.

It is not the job of government to provide unemployment benefits. And it is a myth that no one would have unemployment insurance if the government did not provide it. Americans purchase on the free market health insurance, life insurance, cancer insurance, dental insurance, disability insurance, homeowners’ insurance, renters’ insurance, parcel-shipping insurance, and auto insurance. Why not unemployment insurance? See my “The Unemployment Racket.”

49. Do not use any electricity from companies regulated by the Department of Energy.

It is not the job of government to regulate electricity companies or have a Department of Energy. And it is a myth that some people would not have electricity if the government did not provide it. Most electricity in the United States is provided by private companies.

50. Do not live in homes that are built to code.

It is not the job of government to establish building codes. And it is a myth that buildings would not be constructed safely if the government did not establish building codes.

51. Do not run for public office. Politicians are paid with taxpayer dollars.

Who would want to get elected to office and rub shoulders with the dregs of society? The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble paying politicians before then.

52. Do not ask for help from the FBI, S.W.A.T, the bomb squad, Homeland Security, State troopers, etc…

Don’t worry, we won’t. We want to say as far away from these elements of the police state that we possibly can.

53. Do not apply for any government job whatsoever as all state and federal employees are paid with tax dollars.

Most state and federal jobs should be eliminated. The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble paying government workers before then.

54. Do not use public libraries.

It is not the job of the government to provide libraries. And it is a myth that there would be no libraries if the government did not provide them. Have you been in a public library lately? I see a more people doing web surfing and checking out movies than I see checking out books.

55. Do not use the US Postal Service.

It is constitutional for the government to have a U.S. Postal Service. However, if people were allowed to compete with the Post Office on mail delivery without fear of going to jail because of the postal monopoly, then few people would use the Post Office. The Postal Service is supposed to be funded by the services it provides. If it is not taking in enough money to cover its costs, then it needs to raise its prices.

56. Do not visit the National Archives.

The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble archiving documents before then. But if the government is going to maintain an archive, then it should have user fees so that the ones who visit are the ones who pay for the privilege.

57. Do not visit Presidential Libraries.

Presidential libraries are privately funded and do not belong in this list.

58. Do not use airports that are secured by the federal government.

It is not job of government to secure airports or have anything to do with aviation. And it is a myth that airline travel would not be safe without the groping hands of the TSA.

59. Do not apply for loans from any bank that is FDIC insured.

It is not the job of government to be in the insurance business or have anything to do with banking.

60. Do not ask the government to help you clean up after a tornado.

It is not the job of government to help anyone clean up after a tornado. And it is a myth that no one would get help cleaning up after a tornado if the government did not provide the help. The American people are a resourceful and generous people.

61. Do not ask the Department of Agriculture to provide a subsidy to help you run your farm.

It is not the job of government to subsidize agriculture or have an agriculture department.

62. Do not take walks in National Forests.

It is not the job of government to designate National Forests. And it is a myth that there would be no protected forests if the government did not protect them. But if the government is going to designate National Forests, then it should have user fees so that the ones who visit are the ones who pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, if the government is going to tax me for it against my will, then I am going to get my money’s worth.

63. Do not ask for taxpayer dollars for your oil company.

It is not the job of government to transfer taxpayer money to oil companies or any other company.

64. Do not ask the federal government to bail your company out during recessions.

It is not the job of government to bail out any company during a recession or otherwise.

65. Do not seek medical care from places that use federal dollars.

It is not the job of government to spend federal dollars on medical care or have anything to do with medicine.

66. Do not use Medicaid.

It is not the job of government to pay for medical care or have anything to do with medicine. And it is a myth that the poor would not have access to medical care unless the government paid for it.

67. Do not use WIC.

It is not the job of the government to have welfare programs. And it is a myth that low-income women and their infants and children would go hungry if the government did not give them welfare.

68. Do not use electricity generated by Hoover Dam.

It is not the job of government to construct dams or generate electricity. Electricity generated by the Hoover Dam is paid for by those who use it. And it is a myth that some people would not have electricity if the government did not provide it. Most electricity in the United States is provided by private companies.

69. Do not use electricity or any service provided by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

It is not the job of government to generate electricity, provide any service by the TVA, or even have a TVA. It is a myth that some people would not have electricity if the government did not provide it. Most electricity in the United States is provided by private companies.

70. Do not ask the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild levees when they break.

It is not the job of the government to build levees. It is a myth that no levees would be built or rebuilt if the government did not do the work.

71. Do not let the Coast Guard save you from drowning when your boat capsizes at sea.

Don’t worry, it won’t. The Coast Guard is too busy fighting the war on drugs.

72. Do not ask the government to help evacuate you when all hell breaks loose in the country you are in.

It is not the job of government to help evacuate anyone. Travel to other countries should be at one’s own risk. But if the U.S. government would stop making enemies around the world, the people in other countries might be more inclined to protect Americans.

73. Do not visit historic landmarks.

It is not the job of government to designate historic landmarks. And it is a myth that there would be no historic landmarks if the government did not designate them.

74. Do not visit fisheries.

It is not the job of the government to have anything to do with the fish industry or any other industry.

75. Do not expect to see animals that are federally protected because of the Endangered Species List.

It is not the job of the government to protect endangered species. And it is a myth that endangered species would die out if the government did not protect them.

76. Do not expect plows to clear roads of snow and ice so your kids can go to school and so you can get to work.

It is not the job of government to build roads in the first place. And it is a myth that no roads would be cleared if the government did not clear them.

77. Do not hunt or camp on federal land.

The federal government shouldn’t own any land outside of Washington DC that is not a military base. See my “This Land Is Not Your Land.”

78. Do not work anywhere that has a safe workplace because of government regulations.

It is not the job of the government to institute workplace regulations. It is a myth that workplaces are only safe because of government regulations.

79. Do not use public transportation.

The New York City subway system was originally privately owned just as all “public” transportation should be and would be if governments did not regulate taxis and buses.

80. Do not drink water from public water fountains.

It is not the job of government to provide water fountains. And it is a myth that there would be no water fountains if the government did not provide them. Go into any Wal-Mart and get a drink if you’re thirsty.

82. Do not expect to own your home, car, or boat. Government organizes and keeps all titles.

It is not the job of government to organize and keep titles. It is a myth that this could not be done without the help of government.

83. Do not expect convicted felons to remain off the streets.

Convicted felons roam the streets now. So what is your point?

84. Do not eat in restaurants that are regulated by food quality and safety standards.

It is not the job of government to regulate food quality and safety standards. It is a myth that restaurants are only safe to eat in because of government safety standards.

85. Do not seek help from the US Embassy if you need assistance in a foreign nation. The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble paying for ambassadors to foreign countries before then. And again, the government could institute user fees so that the ones who need help are the ones who pay for the help.

86. Do not apply for a passport to travel outside of the United States.

Why should the government require me to get a passport in the first place? This is a recent innovation.

87. Do not apply for a patent when you invent something.

88. Do not adopt a child through your local, state, or federal governments.

It is not the job of government to have anything to do with the adoption of children. And the adoption tax credit should not be refundable.

89. Do not use elevators that have been inspected by federal or state safety regulators.

It is not the job of government to inspect the safety of elevators. It is a myth that elevators are only safe because of inspection by government safety regulators.

90. Do not use any resource that was discovered by the USGS.

The USGS is the United States Geologic Service. It is not the job of government to discover resources. It is a myth that resources would not be discovered without government assistance.

91. Do not ask for energy assistance from the government.

It is not the job of the government to provide energy assistance. It is a myth that the poor would suffer without energy assistance from the government. Many energy providers solicit money from their customers to help provide energy assistance to the poor.

92. Do not move to any other developed nation, because the taxes are much higher.

And so are the services. I didn’t think it mattered how high the taxes were as long as commensurate government services were provided?

93. Do not go to a beach that is kept clean by the state.

It is not the job of government to keep beaches clean. It is a myth that beaches are only kept clean because the government cleans them.

94. Do not use money printed by the US Treasury.

We have no choice because of government legal tender laws.

95. Do not complain when millions more illegal immigrants cross the border because there are no more border patrol agents.

If the government would stop the drug war, end welfare, stop forcing schools to provide a free public education to children who are not American citizens, end birthright citizenship, and stop forcing hospitals to provide health care to those with no ability to pay, then the illegal immigrant problem would vanish.

96. Do not attend a state university.

It is not the job of state governments to provide education or have anything to do with education. And it is a myth that no one would be educated without government schools. There are a multitude of private colleges in existence. But if states have provisions in their constitutions to operate universities, then those who attend them should pay the full cost of their tuition.

97. Do not see any doctor that is licensed through the state.

It is not the job of government to license doctors or have anything to do with medicine.

98. Do not use any water from municipal water systems.

It is not the job of government to provide water. It is a myth that no one would have running water if the government did not provide it. Some water systems are privately owned, as they all could be and should be.

99. Do not complain when diseases and viruses, that were once fought around the globe by the US government and CDC, reach your house.

It is not the job of government to fight disease or have anything to do with medicine. And it is a myth that no diseases would be conquered if the government did not fight them.

100. Do not work for any company that is required to pay its workers a livable wage, provide them sick days, vacation days, and benefits.

It is not the job of government to require companies to pay certain wages or provide sick days, vacation days, or benefits. And just look at all the benefits that some companies offer that have nothing to do with government regulations. Wages and benefits should depend on a free labor market, not government decree.

101. Do not expect to be able to vote on election days. Government provides voting booths, election day officials, and voting machines which are paid for with taxes.

What difference would it make if no one voted for police statist A over police statist B? The United States had no income tax until 1913, but certainly had no trouble funding elections before then.

102. Do not ride trains. The railroad was built with government financial assistance.

It is not the job of government to finance railroad construction or have anything to do with the railroad industry. And it is a myth that no one could ride trains unless the government funded them. See Thomas DiLorenzo’s The Role of Private Transportation in America’s 19th-Century “Internal Improvements” Debate.

The author concludes: “Without taxes, our lifestyles would be totally different and much harder. America would be a third world country. The less we pay, the less we get in return.”

Pay up or die. That is the mentality of “102 Things NOT To Do If You Hate Taxes.” Without government oversight, businesses would do nothing but rip off their customers, poison their customers, endanger their customers, and kill their customers. Without government oversight, the air would be unfit to breath, rivers would all be contaminated, food would be poisonous, and drinking water would be full of toxic chemicals. Without government oversight, the poor would starve to death, there would be no transportation, no infrastructure, disease would be everywhere, only the rich would have access to health care, there would be no zoos, parks, forests, or museums, garbage would pile up in the streets, criminals and illegal immigrants would roam wild, no one would go to school, fires would burn out of control, and no product or workplace would be safe.

Pay up or die. Civilization depends on it.

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