The follow up, as promised.
Lets begin with some background. The founders of this country had a very limited view of what the role of the federal government should be. They believed that the federal government should protect the citizens of the country from foreign attack, regulate interstate commerce, and write laws for the purposes maintaining order and protecting people’s property, real or intellectual (writings and such). As a result of the need for money to fund a military to protect the country, congress was given the authority to tax the people “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence (sic) and general Welfare of the United States.” 1 . The first personal income tax was levied to pay for the Civil War, in 1861. The first peace time personal income tax was levied in 1894. “The rate was 2% on income over $4000, which meant fewer than 10% of households would pay any. The purpose of the income tax was to make up for revenue that would be lost by tariff reductions.”2 This tax was later deemed unconstitutional and removed. The 16th amendment then re-allowed for the taxation of income, and was sold to the American public that it would only be a tax on the rich. This tax was paid yearly, rather than being collected out of your paycheck before you got it, also known as with holdings. Tax with holdings were passed in the early 1940s during the funding of WW II, and were sold to the people that if they passed it they would not have to pay that years taxes, what the people didn’t realize is that the government planned to – and did – recuperate that money the following year by actually taxing people at a higher rate, which they didn’t necessarily realizes because it came out before they got their weekly paychecks. Basically, our current tax system was not intended at the creation of our country, and has only grown from the inception of the income tax, and income tax with holdings.
The interesting thing about government is that it has one major power that you don’t, the ability, to take from someone else their property, at gun point. You may be thinking, “At gun point? No one has ever come to me with a gun to get me to pay my taxes.” Try not paying them, I guarantee that when they subpoena you to appear in court for tax evasion the Sheriff will in fact be carrying a gun. And, when they find you guilty, and put you in jail, the bailiff at the court will be carrying a gun, as will the prison guards.
What’s all this got to do with selfishness? Go back to the first paragraph, “The 16th amendment then re-allowed for the taxation of income, and was sold to the American public that it would only be a tax on the rich.” The average Joe American that the government needed to approve this amendment to get it passed never thought they would be subject to the tax. They just thought they would receive some benefit from it. There have also been studies done that have shown the most people are willing to pay a higher tax themselves in order to see someone with more money have even more of theirs taken away by a tax. This is a result of wealth envy, and the desire to punish those who have achieved more. So I ask you, which is more selfish, wanting to keep what you rightfully earned, or agreeing to a small amount of tax, just so that someone with more money will get taxed at an even higher rate?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not opposed to paying taxes for the purposes of funding our military. I’m not opposed to paying taxes for the purposes of funding the FBI, CIA, NSA, or Dept. of Homeland Security. I’m not even opposed to paying taxes to fund the general expenses of government, I mean I’m sure it costs money to keep the lights on on Capital Hill. I am opposed to paying taxes for the purpose of giving a “tax credit” to someone who doesn’t pay taxes, if those people need help, I’d rather give that money to a charitable organization that will help them help themselves, and will actually produce results. I am opposed to paying taxes for the purpose of subsidizing E85 ethanol to make it cost competitive with real gas, based on the myth that it is better for the environment. I would rather have that money to spend on a car produced by an automaker that’s making advancements in fuel efficiency. I am opposed to paying taxes so that David Price can buy votes by getting farm subsidies for NC farmers that lost crops due to a late frost. I would rather spend that money on apples those very same farmers produced and are being sold in the store. I am opposed to paying taxes, to pay debt, on a government bailout of business that either made poor decisions and placed themselves in a position to fail, or even worse businesses that were told by the government3 to make poor decisions and place themselves in a position to fail. I would rather keep my money, and have the opportunity to buy a house, therefore injecting more money into the mortgage/real estate market, and have the opportunity to invest that money into our financial markets. This would provide a more real turnaround than some tax payer supporter bailout.