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I work for a private school. Over the summer the school encourages the upcoming senior class to find jobs in the hopes that they obtain some real-world work experience. On Friday, they received their first paychecks. All of them were similarly dismayed to learn that their take home pay was not what they thought it was going to be! Some of the comments I heard – “How can anyone live on that?” “I’m better off working under the table in construction like I did last summer!”
Their reaction to their first paycheck mirrored my own about 30 years ago. I’m sure all of you reading this have probably felt the same way. This got me thinking about our current state of taxation and why we are not collectively outraged by all of the taxes we are forced to pay on many levels. Is it because our employers deduct it from our paychecks and we never handle it? Could it be April 15th is a long way from November? Maybe others are comforted that their elected officials promise to sock it to those who are more well off than they.
Since it has long been established that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, it can be ascertained that there is universal agreement for the need to be taxed. The debate, then, is centered on whether it is too much. It seems to me that we have been conditioned to accept that our government will always spend more than it takes from us, and that the solution to make up for government’s irresponsibility is always to raise taxes. How did this come to be? Why have we long forgotten what it felt like to hold our first paycheck in our hands?
The Internal Revenue Service has become an instrument of destructive retribution. Excessive taxation serves to discourage and hinder one’s path to prosperity. Under the Obama administration it became even more insidious when the Affordable Care Act was forced into law and upheld as a mandatory product that failure to purchase would result in a penalizing tax. It was also used as a weapon against those groups that were diametrically opposed to the party in power, thank you Louis Lerner.
I have heard it proposed that our taxes should be due on election day. I would not only agree with that, but would also favor the stipulation that our employers should not withhold our taxes so that we can tangibly experience the transfer of our hard-earned currency to the treasury. As it stands now our current crop of elected representatives would have no part of this as they are vested in maintaining the status quo. However, it will be interesting to see what pans out after the 2018 midterm elections. I think that there are going to be a few incumbents on both sides of the aisle that are going to be unceremoniously shown the door. If that happens I think we will start to see positive change on many fronts, starting with the tax codes.