By Michael Snyder – The Economic Collapse Blog
At this time of the year, millions of Americans are rushing to file their taxes at the last minute, and we are once again reminded just how nightmarish our system of taxation has become. I studied tax law when I was in law school, and it is one of the most mind-numbing areas of study that you could possibly imagine. At this point, the U.S. tax code is somewhere around 4 million words long, which is more than four times longer than all of William Shakespeare’s works put together. And even if you could somehow read the entire tax code, it is constantly changing, and so those that prepare taxes for a living are constantly relearning the rules. It has been said that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours preparing their taxes each year, and Politifact has rated this claim as true. We have a system that is as ridiculous as it is absurd, and the truth is that we don’t even need it. In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax at all. Why anyone would want to perpetuate this tortuous system is beyond me, and yet we keep sending politicians to Washington D.C. that just keep making this system even more complicated and even more burdensome.
If you hate taxes, you are far from alone. According to NBC News, here are some of the things that Americans would rather do than pay taxes…
Six percent would rather sell a kidney, eight percent would rather name their first-born “Taxes,” and 11 percent would rather spend three years cleaning the bathrooms at noro-torious Chipotle.
Of course our system was never intended to be like this anyway. Our founders hated taxes, and they fought a very bitter war to escape the yoke of oppressive taxation. During his very first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson clearly expressed what he thought about taxes…
“A wise and frugal government… shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
Why couldn’t we have listened to him?
When the federal income tax was originally introduced a little more than a century ago, most Americans were taxed at a rate of only 1 percent.
About the author:
Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.
Read his new book Get Prepared Now!: Why A Great Crisis Is Coming.