January 26th, 2007

Taxation Without Representation

History lesson: The circumstance that sparked the long birthing process of our nation was taxation without representation.

While we officially have representation in our government, 74% of Americans allegedly believe that Congress is out of touch with their constituents. Self-serving career politicians in bed with corporate lobbyists do not represent the people who voted them into office.

And we are heavily taxed in our day, with a long, obtuse list of various taxes imposed upon us.

We didn’t put up with it before. Why are we putting up with it now?

Read quotes about “taxes” on Quoty

10 Responses to “Taxation Without Representation”

  1. Connor
    January 26, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    Whether you believe the media spin on the guy or not, Edward Brown seems to have the same spirit as the early colonials who demanded fiscal transparency and legitimate laws.

    This legal response from a prosecuting attorney is especially interesting:

    The government is unable, therefore, to offer case authority for the universally accepted proposition that a citizen of the United States, working and residing in the United States, subject to federal law, earning wages, and responsible for filing an income tax return, is liable for taxation.

    “Universally accepted” is a load of hogwash. Just because everybody thinks we’re supposed to pay something does not make it so.

    I’ll be very interested to see how Uncle Sam dukes it out with Mr. Brown. Good thing there are local supporters serving as watchdogs for any action taken.

  2. Sam B
    January 26, 2007 at 11:41 am #

    Connor,
    Um, if the prosecuting attorney can’t offer case authority or Internal Revenue Code authority for the proposition that wage income is liable for taxation, he’s not a very good attorney. The Code is clear, and the caselaw is even clearer.

    However, perhaps he meant he didn’t feel like it–the argument that wage income is not taxable is a classic unsupportable tax-protestor argument, one the courts and the IRS have deemed to be frivolous (and therefore subject to civil penalties), and therefore one that they don’t bother addressing. That is, why waste time doing lots of research and writing where you can write, in essence, “This is frivolous,” cite a case, and be done?

  3. Connor
    January 26, 2007 at 11:49 am #

    Sam,

    I figured a post on taxes would result in you stopping by to comment! :)

    While we could get into a larger discussion about the unconstituationality of the income tax, the point of this specific post is to mainly deal with the conundrum of heavy taxation without some serious representation. I decided to cite Brown’s situation merely as an example of somebody fighting back against the system instead of letting the government legalize robbery at the point of a gun. It’s amazing how history repeats itself.

  4. lief
    January 26, 2007 at 11:54 am #

    As a tax lawyer, I can assure you that the government has plenty of statutory and case law with which to enforce the collection of taxes. The above quote, taken out of context in the cited source, is probably a response to a frivolous and narrowly construed argument advanced by the tax protester rather than a general statement that the government is without authority to enforce the tax code.

    The Internal Revenue Code was enacted by Congress just like any other federal law. It contains extensive provisions outlining civil and criminal penalties for evasion of taxes. It has repeatedly been found to be Constitutional and , in its modern form, the Code has not come close to being struck down by any court.

    If tax protesters disagree with the Code, they have plenty of avenues to work within the system to change it. But pretending that there is no legal authority for the federal government to collect taxes only proves that you can believe whatever you want when you are willing to ignore facts.

  5. Connor
    January 26, 2007 at 11:57 am #

    Lief,

    As a tax lawyer, I’m curious what your opinion is of the documentary America: Freedom to Fascism. Have you seen it? If so, care to comment?

  6. lief
    January 26, 2007 at 12:16 pm #

    I don’t want to watch it here at work, but overall I am sympathetic to using the term ‘fascism’ to describe the current direction in American politics.

    I am also sympathetic to the notion that a massive federal government with an extensive system of income taxation was not something that the Founders contemplated.

    Theory aside, though, there is a pervasive tendency among tax protesters to seize on out of context statements from the government in proving their point that there is no real duty to pay taxes, rather than starting with section 1 of the Internal Revenue Code. Since this misleading material is used in their promotional literature, I think it is important to point out that there is plenty of legal authority for the government to levy that assets of taxpayers and to put them in jail for certain tax avoiding behaviors.

    I see no need to glorify tax protesters who have willfully broken the law of the land and are on their way to jail. On the other hand, taxpayer advocates who work within the law while initiating constitutional means of changing it are worthy of our respect.

  7. Sam B
    January 26, 2007 at 12:17 pm #

    Connor,
    Maybe lief has; I haven’t seen the video in question, and doubt that I will.

    However, your invocation of the “taxation without representation” meme is, I maintain, inapposite. You may well be dissatisfied with the government, and you may well feel (and may well even be right) that your vote can’t change anything. But you have two Senators and one Representative who represent you in the legislative branch (unless, of course, you live in D.C., where you might have a good argument; I’m not entirely sure about the situation in our various protectorates and territories, although I know that Puerto Rico has its own tax code, modeled after an earlier US version, maybe the 1954 Code). The meme is not, No taxation without my personal consent to the rate structure, etc. The Boston Tea Partiers were not represented in Britain’s government.

    All this is not to say that you aren’t welcome to criticize the tax code, or complain about the rates. The problem with tax protestors, however, is that they are intellectually dishonest, and often blatently dishonest, as they read individual sections of the Internal Revenue Code without referencing other parts, or deliberately misread a section, or whatever. I’d offer specific examples, except that it’s been a few months since I last read up on the current state of tax protesting.

    And yes, you managed to draw me out of my lurking. :)

  8. Sam Hennis
    January 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    Lief & Sam B, I suggest you visit http://www.livefreenow.org/

    There is much enlightening information on that site.

    I wouldn’t call it “tax protesting.” That makes it sound like they don’t want to pay any tax at all. That’s not the case. These people want the government to be honest and truthful with them when they have an honest question. Instead of getting answers, they get threats. We shouldn’t have to live in fear of our government. The government is supposed to serve “we the people,” not the other way around.

  9. Kaela
    January 29, 2007 at 8:43 am #

    I’m certainly no expert, especially compared to others on the wall…
    In my opinion, our taxes are quite reasonable, compared to other countries (say, Norway, for instance). However, you get what you pay for, and countries with higher taxes generally take better care of their people. I’m not sure how the rest of Europe ranks when it comes to paying taxes, but I’m fairly sure that we’re on the lower end of the spectrum.
    When you think about it, taxes are no different than tithing when it comes to the amount-isn’t it about a comparable percentage depending on your income bracket? I agree, tithing goes to more worthy and appropriate causes and is managed more efficiently. But maybe instead of whining about paying taxes (because really, we aren’t taxed very heavily in comparison), we should focus on shifting the SPENDING of those taxes to programs and institutions that are a better use of those monies. In that sense, maybe we do need better/more representation. But that is a WHOLE ‘nother ball game.

  10. Josh
    January 31, 2007 at 12:10 am #

    “all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.”

    Our evils, to us, are still sufferable. Our Framer’s recognized the taxes as “pursuing invariably the same Object… to reduce them under absolute Despotism” We’re slower, because we’re richer, we can afford it, and we like the way we live.

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