Tax Day has arrived and it’s snowing outside, which can’t be a coincidence. I have no idea what that means, but it seems appropriate.
Did everybody get their taxes filed on time? Just think, right now, all the rich libs who spend the rest of the year saying wealthy people should pay more in taxes are holding guns to the heads of their accountants and ordering them to eke out every possible last-minute deduction.
Below is a column I wrote in 2006 about this annual occasion.
Tax Day Blues
Today is the day when the tax returns of all hard-working citizens of the United States need to be in the mail. Many of us are so busy in our daily lives that we never consider what is involved in this behemoth of a tax system, but the implications of “Tax Day” deserve further exploration. How did this come about, and where is it headed?
Since the dawn of man, we have been filled with a motivation to move forward. We’re wondrous creatures in our adaptability and ingenuity. We’ve discovered fire, tools, the wheel, medicine, television, space travel, automatic garage door openers, disco and abdominizers. Seven out of nine isn’t bad.
Through all those thousands of years we’ve been pushing our intellects to become a better, more efficient civilization. With the exception of certain alleged sitcoms and politicians who treat the public teat like a rottweiler’s chew toy, we have.
Amidst all these changes, however, remains an urge in many of us that still tugs at the core of our biological makeup, just as it did a thousand years ago. Many of us, through the thousands of years gone by, have shaken this yearning, but for others it’s an urge that’s so overwhelming that they have stopped fighting it and now act upon it, all nice and legal like, thanks to the laws for which this Tax Day is symbolic. That lust is: “How can I get my hands on some of their stuff?”
Cave dwellers asked themselves that question, and if they didn’t get what they wanted, they used their clubs to achieve those ends. These days, with obvious exceptions, human beings are far more civilized. Now, when people ask themselves how they can get their hands on the stuff of others, they simply get elected to Congress – then hire people to wield the club.
Of course, Congress won’t take your stuff directly. If they did, we wouldn’t be paying nearly as much in taxes, mainly because “self-imposed term limits” will never be in a politician’s lexicon.
Enter the Internal Revenue Service, which gives politicians the ability to commit crimes without leaving any fingerprints on the gun, and demonstrates for us the single component that separates modern man from primitive man: Subcontracted coercion.
On this Tax Day, we’re writing checks to the government for any taxes due, or awaiting a check in return for any overpayment. Some of us get excited about a tax return, but if we lent our Mercedes to a friend, and months later all we got back was a tire, a door and a windshield wiper, would be giddy about our “Benz return”?
Paying taxes wasn’t always such a treacherous and confiscatory undertaking. For a long time, this country was run on very limited funds. Up until the early 1800s, the government was operated purely on internal sales taxes and revenue from a gigantic powdered wig and red-coat closeout sale. Then in 1817, the government got rid of internal taxes and functioned mostly on tariffs on imported goods. Can you imagine running this bloated monster of a federal government solely on import taxes imposed on sneakers and gag gifts?
We were created with the ability to create. All this is evidenced in the brilliance of many of our finest moments, from medicine to art to science, but that all came to an end with the ratification of the 16th Amendment in 1913. The amendment gave Congress legal authority to tax income. The kids finally found the key to the Founding Fathers’ liquor cabinet.
Much of the creative energy that should be focused on curing disease, designing grand buildings, composing music, and exploring the farthest reaches of the universe, now goes into trying to figure out a way to write off our lawnmower as a dependent.
Will the 16th Amendment ever be repealed? This may mean that the tax collector would have to be sent to our homes to collect, and we’d actually see how much money is going out the door. The government knows this, which is why they would repeal the Second Amendment before even considering repealing the 16th. In other words, keep filling out those tax forms. We’re in it for the long haul.
On this day, America’s biggest homework assignment of the year is due. The government chose the middle of April because in the springtime, as our fancy turns to other things, we may be too busy to notice that our pockets are being picked. Even if we do notice, the politicians hope we’ve forgotten about it by the first Tuesday in November.