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Even the Poor Must Pay Taxes

Sep 1, 2008
Most of us have heard the statistics about how rich folks pay most of the country's taxes, right? According to an article by Ari Fleischer titled "The Taxpaying Minority," the top 1% of income earners pay 37% of the nation's tax bill. The top 10% pay 40% and the bottom 40%, middle class pay less than 5%, and the bottom 40% of workers pay absolutely nothing. Heck, with the "earned" income tax credit the very bottom even gets paid by the federal government simply for the sake of existing.

For a free democracy to exist into perpetuity it must endow its citizenry with a sense of responsibility for the stewardship of State. The only way to do so is to levy taxes upon everyone who has any say in government. Everyone who can vote must be required to pay taxes, no matter how little the amount. Allowing a large, and growing, segment of the population to evade paying anything into the system, yet to keep their power to vote and influence policy is a recipe for disaster.

If 60% of the voting public can force 40% to pay the bills, what's to stop 90% of people in a democracy from making 10% pay it all? Or why not let 99% of the country off the hook, as long as the remaining 1% picks up the tab?

Civilizations seem to have a fairly well-defined lifecycle. From initial growth there follows a period of properity up until citizens realize they can vote themselves gifts from the public treasury. British historian, Alexander Tyler, says "the majority will always vote for the candidates who promise the most benefits...with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy."

When something is free there is little incentive to limit consumption or portion resources for long-term health. Free Big Macs at McDonald's would likely lead to obesity and a heartattack within a decade. The same goes for paying taxes, which are how we pay for the benefits living in a governed society affords. When we are not responsible for paying the bills that government generates we do not care so much for how much money is spent.

We all derive benefit from living in a well-governed society. There is relative peace throughout the land, a refined legal system safeguards property and our lives, and an abundance of prosperity enables the majority of citizens to live better than medieval Lords. Of course the wealthier you are the more benefit you derive, so rich should pay the bulk of the bills. However, the middle class and even the poorest of us benefit. We must all pay our proportionate share or our civilization will lapse into dependent, complacent serfdom. I sincerely hope that America can get its act together and adjust its system of taxation to equitably distribute the burden.
About the Author
Robert Viglione is a writer, hedge fund manager, and real property broker. A former military officer, he is passionate about promoting a free society in America. Check out more of his work on The Freedom Factory.
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