Happy Tax Day!

“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher.”(when asked about completing his income tax form)”  

Albert Einstein



Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once opined that taxes are the price we pay for civilization.  As usual Holmes was being more glib than wise.  Some taxation is needed for civilization;  taxation that becomes oppressive is usually a sign of a civilization in decline.  In the beginning most taxes are instituted for some more or less necessary purpose, at least that is what is claimed.  Over time they simply exist to feed an ever growing government.  Unlike most associations we develop in our lives, government is completely involuntary and always has compulsion at its beck and call to ensure compliance.  It is all too easy over time for government to simply become a mechanism to transfer funds to favored political groups.  Until governments master this technique usually they stay small simply because taxpayers hate paying taxes.  This taxpayer resistance is overcome when government is able to claim the allegiance of large groups that view themselves as net beneficiaries from taxation.   When sufficient funds are not available, governments simply wish them into being through borrowing and the printing press.  The best argument against big government is to closely watch how the funds taken and manufactured are used by the government each fiscal year.  63 % of the federal budget consists of transfer payments from collective Peters to collective Pauls.  Christ noted that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar.  It is instructive that He never breathed a word about the care of the poor being a responsibility of Caesar, instead making it the duty of each of His followers.  Relying upon Caesar to do this task is rather like using an army to provide day care services.  Thus we have the modern welfare states that attempt at great cost to do what people should do for themselves or what should be the province of private charity.  Government thus becomes ever larger and eventually begins to kill its host, the private sector.  So here is to Tax Day, that monument to human hubris, chicanery and avarice! 



More to explorer


  1. Bigger government…smaller lives.
    Unless your in the government!

    I agree with all of your wisdom Mr. McClarey. Especially; “When sufficient funds are not available, governments simply wish them into being through borrowing and the printing press.”

    Hyper inflation on the forecast?

    You can only devalue the dollar for so long. Who cares if the nation has a hundred billionaire’s…if the cost of a loaf of bread is $1,500. Oh…the billionaires don’t mind. They make the bread.

    “Taxation that becomes oppressive is usually a sign of a civilization in decline.”

  2. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once opined that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. As usual Holmes was being more glib than wise

    Oh, I think it can be saved!
    Sure, it’s more a matter of interpreting sense into it than getting sense out, but… if you read it as the form of taxes reflecting the form of gov’t, then it kind of works. A gov’t that targets isolated groups of unpopular and punishes then greatly via direct taxes to give goodies to the loudest while simultaneously taking massive amounts from those getting “goodies” in ways that they don’t notice (an exaggeration of our current system) is going to reflect a specific type of civilization, after all….

  3. This got posted over at Creative Minority Report in a knocked down, dragged out exchange, i will not call it a conversation, amongst some atheists, about Ted Cruz.
    Sixty million sovereign souls are being scraped from the womb and
    “Return to Sender”, “their Creator” is being stamped on them by their procreators.
    Jesus Christ has a rational soul. Man, being created in the image of God, has an immortal, rational soul. The devil has no soul. The devil is a person who is a pure spirit with no soul. The devils, like the angels, are pure spirits, except that the devil is a perfectly evil spirit, with no soul. Man on the other hand cannot be perfectly good, nor perfectly evil. Man relies on God for his perfection for body and rational soul. The devil gives man nothing but hell…absence from God, corruption and chaos.
    Sixty million sovereign souls are being scraped from the womb and
    “Return to Sender”, “their Creator” is being stamped on them by their procreators.
    Your tax dollars at work.

    I always feel it is a good thing we pay people to tell us how to live…not.
    You are free to remove this comment.

  4. @Philip,
    In traditional economics, inflation is what would happen. It’s more difficult in America’s case in a world economy because our printing presses give license to other countries to do the same. If we all devalue our currency, is it really devalued? It’s a race to the bottom. In addition, other countries help fuel our debt by buying it. They need a healthy customer buying their goods. The eggheads have figured a way to abdicate fiscal responsibility.

  5. Every politician who wants to raise your taxes and claim the revenue is for the poor is simply another Judas Iscariot. John Chapter 12:
    1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

  6. Kyle Miller.

    Your “race to the bottom” is a good metaphor. When the “winners” hit bottom I hope my interest remains with the losers. Greece? My guess is Greece will look good compared to the future collapses.

  7. I am some kind of an accountant and know enough about the code to be annoying. So, I actually know what “they” are trying to get to with the schedules, but the way they run (add this; subtract –% of that; take ##% of that-there;. . . .) you around. You know Einstein was correct, again.
    I hand-write my Fed and NYS returns, which include eight or ten (AMT, rental property, etc.) schedules over and above than the minimum number of schedules. Generally, they are neater than your example.
    One, I am too cheap to buy the software (b/c I earn more – AMT!!!) than allows me to get it gratis (all men are created equal . . . BS!) .
    Two, some ‘dreamer’ will not steal my identity.
    Three, the rats can read my chicken-scratch.
    Four, I have the papers. Every other year I get a letter telling me I owe a % or two of total tax. “Funny” how I always err in my favor – not enough to ruffle their feathers, incur a fine or interest. If I was on their (dark) side, I’d call me in and hand me a strongly-worded letter of reprimand.

  8. I own a piece of ground, about 18 acres of winter pasture, which is known locally as “the ten shilling land.” [The shilling is an old British coin, 20 to the pound, abolished in 1971]

    As a child, I was intrigued by the name and so I asked the old shepherd about it. He looked after the sheep on the common grazings and he knew everything. He told me that there was once a wicked king, who charged the poor people money, just for living on their own land.

    Years later, I had occasion to check the progress of title in the Register of Sasines and, sure enough, the piece of ground was described as being “ten shilling land of Old Extent.” Now, the Old Extent was a survey of rental values, carried out by King Alexander III in 1280, in connection with a proposed land tax. The New Extent was carried out in 1365-1366 for a tax to pay David II’s ransom under the Treaty of Berwick of 1357.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: