The textbook definition of robbery is the taking of something of value from another by the use of force. Now, how many of you willingly give about half of your earnings each year to the government? If you’re like most people, you probably feel that you’re paying way too much for an assortment of taxes that range from federal to property to sales and everything in between. Have you ever looked closely at your phone bill and noticed all those little fees and taxes slipped in by federal, state and local authorities? You have no idea why you’re paying the additional $1.15 for this and 88 cents for that because no one bothered to explain it to you; they just decided that you probably wouldn’t notice it. After all, it’s a tiny amount compared to the overall bill. Yet, that tiny amount, added to tens of millions of bills, comes to a tidy sum that is, collectively, being robbed from the American public. The same goes for the federal income tax that began during the Civil War when current methods of taxation, i.e., tariffs on imports, were not enough to meet the demand for war resources. The first withholding tax was 3% on incomes of $600 (about $10,000 today) to $10,000 (do the math) and 5% on incomes from $10,000 to $50,000. By the way, they also tossed in a small inheritance tax (called the death tax today).
In 1819, John Marshall, the great Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, wrote, “The power to tax involves the power to destroy.” The eminent jurist was amazingly prescient when one considers that the comment was made about a half century before the federal income tax was imposed, a tax that became the precursor to a laundry list of tariffs that would insinuate themselves into the socioeconomic landscape of the country. Nickel by nickel; dollar by dollar; the people have been subjected to the increasingly rapacious arm of state-sponsored income distribution. Need more money for a new program dreamed up by a bureaucrat who never worked a real job in his life? Tax the people! Need more money for a new government office building to serve as the headquarters for the aforementioned program? Tax the people! Need more government employees to handle the extra revenue being generated by this latest hair-brained scheme? Tax the people some more! After all, what are they going to do about it? If they refuse to pay, take away their homes, or throw them in jail. It is precisely this use of force to take our money that resembles the thug with a gun. Using the principle of strength in numbers, the state can pick off individual members of the populace without fear of serious resistance; gangs are stronger than loners. (Organized crime uses that tactic too.)
However, that’s why citizen involvement is an essential element of democracy; the voice of the people is more than a cliché. All responsible citizens recognize the need for taxes to pay for services that provide security, infrastructure, school financing, etc. In addition, most people are decent enough to open their wallets a little wider when the need arises; Americans are the most generous people on earth. Yet, they’re the last people on earth you want to mess with if they feel they are being treated unjustly. It is that spirit of righteousness, etched into our genetic code by ancestors who struggled against tyranny, that sets us apart from the majority of the planet, most of whom genuflect obsequiously in the presence of their masters. That’s not the American way! That’s why my chest swells with pride when I see Tea Party groups forming across the country to tell the government they are tired of having their pockets picked by parasites who have spent their entire adult lives sucking the blood of working men and women. The imperious nature of these larcenous leeches makes them arrogant enough to presume that they know how to spend our money better than we do. Hence, instead of keeping taxes low, allowing consumers to have more money to spend, thereby stimulating the economy the old fashioned way, we’re told that our infinitely more intelligent benefactors have a better plan. Their plan is to penalize productive people by taking half of their money and hand it out to unproductive people via more government programs. It was that airheaded philosophy that got us into the current economic meltdown. Perhaps, on November 2, voters will begin getting us out of it.
Bob Weir is a veteran of 20 years with the New York Police Dept. (NYPD), ten of which were performed in plainclothes undercover assignments. During his early years with NYPD, Bob earned a Bachelor of Science degree, cum laude from New York Institute of Technology. He retired as a sergeant after supervising patrol in Midtown Manhattan, the busiest precinct in the country. After owning and operating a wine and liquor retail business in Long Island for 5 years, he sold it and moved to Flower Mound, Texas. Bob began a writing career about 12 years ago and had his first book published in 1999. Bob went on to write and publish a total of seven novels, “Murder in Black and White,” “City to Die For,” “Powers that Be,” “Ruthie’s Kids,” “Deadly to Love,” “Short Stories of Life and Death,” and “Out of Sight,” are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Books-a-million, and other major online book sellers. He also became a syndicated columnist under the title “Weir Only Human”. His perspective may be read within the pages of the Westchester Guardian, Westchester Herald and the Yonkers Tribune.