about Form 1040 and when  Just about everyone has always hated what Oliver Wendell Holmes long ago called “the price we pay for civilization,” taxes. 

All the phony Washington yammering over billionaire Warren Buffett’s tax rate as opposed to his secretary’s makes as little sense as the president’s foreign policies since taxing every millionaire in the country 100% on their earnings wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans to reduce Obama’s trillion dollar deficits.  Still, it’s worthwhile to consider the whole concept of governments siphoning money from its citizens. 

The ancient Romans resented paying their precious coppers to the emperor and hid in public urinals to escape the dreaded tax collector, thousands of modern Romans avoid kicking in their euros to support their corrupt leadership, yet most Americans dutifully if not happily file their 1040′s on time every year. 

Whether it’s still just the price we pay for civilization or the price the majority of taxpayers pay to keep peace among the underclasses, the price we pay others to pay less as we pay more, or simply the price to insure the government is able to provide cradle to the grave subsidies for those not interested in providing for themselves, is debatable. 

What’s not debatable is that good citizens had better pay up by April 17th or be hit with penalties and be hounded to distraction by the American version of the gestapo, the Infernal Revenue Service.  This year we have the grace of an additional two days to cough up what we owe instead of paying by the date that fittingly coincides with the fateful day Lincoln died and the Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic.  

Sure, federal taxes serve constitutional purposes of providing for the national defense,  etc. but the tax code is now larger than the iceberg that sank the Titanic and almost as deadly.     

The code, rife with loopholes and exemptions and gifts and penalties, now encompasses over 9 million words requiring more than 90,000 IRS employees to administer it with a budget in excess of $11 billion, and costs compliant taxpayers additional billions to avoid a threatening letter from the tax man and possible audit by overpaid IRS auditors. 

The tax code is a financial albatross dangling from the necks of every American–with the exception of the 45% who legally don’t pay a dime to the feds, the millions involved in the underground economy, and corporations like General Electric that escape the tax tentacles with devious tax avoidance devices.     

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 of the United States Constitution authorizes the federal government to collect taxes and, by inference, to spend the monies collected on what it sees fit. 

Aside from the onerous burden it places on those who must file ever-more-complex tax returns, the I,8,1 authorization has been used for decades to pad payrolls, finance politicians’ boondoggles and drive political donations, penalize Americans with double taxation on dividends, legislate morality such as with outrageous levies on tobacco products,  punish success with higher marginal income tax rates for higher earners, and win votes with government largesse.

None of those debasements of the power to tax could have been envisioned by those who drafted the Constitution.  Modern methods of taxation are used less to pay for civilization than they are for control and manipulation of the American people.