The day has finally arrived. The day we have all been waiting for. It is tax day! And everyone is super excited, right? Maybe for those who are getting a refund, but for those who truly know how the taxation mechanism works and have felt the pain of paying taxes, this day is always dreaded!
The government is quite clever actually. It blatantly steals money from its citizens, but does so in such a subtle manner people hardly notice and care even less. For anyone that is a W-2 employee, they take it straight from your paycheck, before it even hits your bank account. Whether you’re aware of it, or even pay attention to your pay stub, it happens. There is no way around it. By taking the money before it hits your account, it is painless! And because it is painless, people don’t pay attention. All they care about are the numbers in their account.
A recent seasonal job I worked revealed to me first hand people’s general ignorance about taxes. The group of employees I supervised were excited when their first paychecks arrived. They tore them open to see how much they had made. After a minute or two of looking them over, they started asking each other some questions with puzzling looks on their faces. From my observations it was obvious no one had adequate answers. I stepped in to see if I could be of assistance. Pointing at the deductions section, they turned to me and asked, “Why is the company taking this money from us?” (And I’m not kidding, that was their question verbatim).
I had to refrain from laughter as I explained why the deductions were taken out. I also explained more about taxes, the IRS, and adulting. It was sad to see they were that naive and ignorant. But, I was elated to see their obvious frustration at having their hard earned money stolen from them! And anyone that says government taxation is not theft, I’ll be waiting for an explanation on why it isn’t!
Now, those of you who are 1099 and self-employed, it is a different story entirely. You know what it feels like to set money aside each pay-check and file quarterly taxes; you know the pain of writing a check to the IRS. You are aware of exactly how much you are handing over to the government so I don’t think much needs to be said to you, but please, keep reading.
Back to those of you who are excited about getting a refund, Congrats! I’m happy for you! I had to pay this year, thankfully it wasn’t much though. But, the downside to your refund is the unseen cost associated with it. That’s right, there is a cost. It’s actually a cost on top of the cost of already paying taxes. So it’s a cost on a cost. Good luck figuring that one out.
First, there is the obvious – you just loaned the government money interest free! Simply put, that’s lost money on your part. Second, there is the lost opportunity cost. What more could you have done the previous year with that extra $500? Or $3000? Or more? Saved? Paid off some debts and saved yourself interest payments that are always working against you? Gone on vacation? Donated to charity and further reduced your tax burden? The lost opportunity cost is far greater than any interest payments you would have received on that loan!
The concept of paying taxes should frustrate every American. People argue it is the cost of being a citizen of any country. But is it? Everywhere we turn we pay taxes. Today just happens to be the day we reconcile our state and federal income taxes. But that’s not the only tax we pay. There’s sales taxes, vehicle registration tax, property tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax, airport tax, fuel taxes, building permit taxes, water taxes, cigarette taxes, dog license fees (fees are just another form of tax), inheritance tax, self-employment taxes, etc., etc., etc. Get the picture? We are literally taxed every which way we turn. It is unavoidable! Soon we may be taxed on the air we breathe.
The reason for the ever expanding tax burden iss all due to a government, both local and federal, that is continually increasing in size and scope. It has NOTHING to do with being the price of citizenship of this country. Yes, there are permissible functions of any government viz. to protect life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. But, that is a very limited scope and does NOT require a government as large as ours is.
If you truly want a tax refund, and one that doesn’t come with covert costs, then work to reduce the size of your government! Eliminate unconstitutional federal agencies, programs, and policies and restore our government to its primary purposes. The country’s Founders would be ashamed to see what we have done with what they fought and DIED for! And did you know, the Revolutionary War started because the British tried to impose a miniscule tax increase that pails when compared with our current tax rate?
Happy tax day!