The above title is based on one of the most famous quotations in world literature. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, act three, scene one, Hamlet’s soliloquy begins thusly:
To be, or not to be: that is the question . . .
Before I begin this posting, my nature demands that I recite a really bad parody, one that I have unluckily remembered for more years than I like to think about. I plead for forgiveness in advance, and I would gladly attribute the quote had its origin not been lost in the dim and dusty antiquity of my memories.
Beware, reader . . .
Brace yourself . . .
Here it comes . . .
TB or not TB: that is congestion:
Consumption be done about it?
Of corpse, of corpse.
On with the posting:
The following e-mail is my response to one from my friend Sue. We were discussing income tax and why it is labeled “voluntary.” She had received an e-mail from someone who was recruiting people to NOT pay their taxes based on that voluntary label.
Thanks for the e-mail—it has prompted me to do some very basic research on the author’s premise that the income tax laws are unconstitutional, and because of their unconstitutionality, they are laws with which we should not comply. Based on my prolonged and exhaustive research (at least 20 minutes), my conclusions (which took a bit more than 20 minutes) are as follows:
The author of the e-mail is “tilting at windmills,” a modern-day Don Quixote. Those who choose to follow him have accepted his thesis as fact (that the Sixteenth Amendment has never been properly ratified). His followers are modern-day Sanchos (from Sancho Panza, Don Quixote’s somewhat dull-witted squire). That some are found guilty and others are deemed not guilty when cornered, charged, indicted and tried by the IRS is a non-factor—note the blindfold covering the eyes of Lady Justice—also remember OJ and the trial of the century—stuff (?) happens.
The author has taken leave of his sanity, as did Don Quixote. I predict that the author will one day regain his sanity, as did Don Quixote, and then become so melancholy that he will, for the rest of his life, remain sane and broken—as did Don Quixote, a man who was never able to regain his insanity and who died sane and broken—this in spite of all efforts by others to resurrect his alter-ego in order to save his life.
The Sixteenth Amendment was properly ratified by the required number, 36 of the 48 states which existed at the time, in full accordance with the Constitution which required ratification by three-fourths (36) of the existing 48 states. On February 3, 1913 New Mexico became the thirty-sixth state to ratify, and on March 7, 1913 New Hampshire became the final state to ratify, bringing the total to 42 of the 48 states (of the remaining six states, four rejected it and two never considered it).
Incidentally, March 7 was the day I enlisted in the U. S. military (no, that was not March 7, 1913), and for 22 years lived on a rather paltry salary. I began my military career with a whopping total of $72.50 per month (three months later it was increased to a mind-boggling total of $75.00). Following retirement from the military for length of service (zero disability) with a pension also paltry ($412 monthly after serving for 22 years), I began a new career (from necessity, not by choice) with the U. S. Treasury Department that, coincidentally, is the branch of government that includes the Internal Revenue Service.
That second career lasted 26 years, and I am now retired from both jobs, with a non-paltry pension based on the 48-year total—which, of course, makes me a double-dipper. But wait, there’s more—considering my Social Security benefits I’m a triple-dipper—oops, I’m really a quadruple-dipper because my wife draws a pension based on my Social Security earnings—-and if I am ever presented with the opportunity I will cheerfully become a quintuple-dipper.
I feel completely justified with all those “dippings” because I earned them. I have always complied with our tax laws and will continue to comply with them—not cheerfully, of course, but always knowing that IRS is looking over my shoulder—that’s their job.
I realize that you are familiar with the above capsule of my working years, and I mention them only to reinforce my belief that the income tax is constitutional. I will refrain from declaring it either fair or unfair, other than pointing out that it is both, depending on who, what, when and where. You’ll note that I do not mention why, because the why should be obvious.
Oh, well, I’ll mention it anyway. We pay taxes on our earned income and just about everything else because, just as we cannot exist without income, neither can our country, and without our country neither can we.
PeeEss: Feel free to disseminate (spread, disperse, scatter—whatever) this e-mail in any way you like. I am not ashamed of the fact that I pay my taxes—nay, I’m even proud that I pay them. There is a possibility, very remote, that I may, from to time, make one or more errors in my calculations, but just as in the case of our newly appointed Secretary of the Treasury, my mistakes always fall into the honest category.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
July 6, 2009 at 12:03 pm
it’s so handy when constitutional law and your personal interests align
July 8, 2009 at 9:41 am
July 8, 2009 at 1:28 pm
Yes, your points were well taken. Now, the only problem I have is the unfairness of the tax system that singles out the high achievers/earners and taxes them more than those who earn less. I’d like to see a FLAT TAX tax where everyone is taxed the same amount and there is no prejudice against anyone no matter what they earn. Even the Declaration of Independence declares all men are created equal but for some reason our members of Congress found it fit to tax all men unequally.
July 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm
Hi, Sue—I wholeheartedly agree with you on the idea of a flat tax, but it will never happen, at least not as long as you-know-who (and anyone similar) and his party are in power. A ten percent flat tax would do the job according to many people who should know, including Steve Forbes. Let’s elect Forbes and the flat tax will happen.
July 11, 2009 at 2:00 am
Taxation is as old as civilization. The ancient Egyptians had a very fair way of taxing people. They took a flat percentage. Their civilization lasted for 3,500 years.
Other societies had harsher methods of taxation and their civilizations crumbled.
July 13, 2009 at 10:48 am
Good point—our civilization is deteriorating rapidly, but I’m reasonably certain that it will last through my tenure.
Beyond that point I’ll continue my observations, but I’ll be watching from the side-lines. I’ll probably be trying to stay cool, much as I do now.
At its current rate of deterioration it’s highly unlikely that our civilization will last anywhere close to Egypt’s 3500 years—for some of us it’s a matter of speculation as to whether it will last through 2016.
We can only hope.
Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment.