Taxation is a necessary evil. In our modern society, we have come to expect many services from government that sustain our quality of life. We must never forget that taxation is always confiscation; the money was earned by the sweat of our brows, and it is government’s burden to prove why it needs the money, not our burden to prove why we should keep it.
Government at every level provides services and functions that we as individuals are either are incapable of providing or if we tried, would be tremendously inefficient at achieving. Our tax dollars are the means by which we pay for those services. We must never lose our sense of perspective on this matter. Taxes are not the entitled due of the government; they are a voluntary exchange between the governed and the governing to pay for services and value. The government and the governed reach an agreement on some accretion of power for the government (the governed assessing that it is in their favor to do so), and the governed surrender their earnings in exchange. It should never be forgotten that this is a reversible transaction.
While a flat tax would be the preferred method of taxing income at the federal level, the graduated income tax must be strengthened to ensure that all wage earners pay some figure into the general revenue of the country. The current system, in which nearly 40% of wage earners have no income tax liability, creates a situation in which these wage earners pay only “payroll taxes”, destined ultimately for their own support. Not a penny of these earner’s wages goes into maintaining our armed forces, paying government employees, building federal highways, or providing for early childhood education.
Most dangerous of all, because so many citizens have no federal tax liability, they are left with the mistaken notion that the largess of the United States comes without a cost. To them, it is free. To the rest of wage earners, it is most surely not.
Republicans must remain the party of low taxes. We should not be the party of a Tourettes-like reaction to taxes (“the answer is lower taxes, now what was the question?”), but we should continue to drive home the notion that each and every service or function that the government takes on is funded with dollars that come out of our pockets. We must seek to enlarge the dues-paying membership in our Democracy by ensuring that ALL wage earners pay some portion of their earnings (in some cases as low as 1%) into the general revenue and most importantly, we must be the party of limited government, the kind that understands the value of a free people with greater control of their own money.