"There is no art which
one government sooner learns of another than that of draining money from
the pockets of the people."
- Adam Smith, "The Wealth of Nations"
"To tax and to please,
no more than to love and be wise, is not given to man."
- Edmund Burke
"Tax cuts are about
making people, not government, more powerful."
"Currently more than 40%
of our income is disposed of on our behalf by government at federal, state
and local levels combined. One of us suggested a new national holiday,
"Personal Independence Day" - that day in the year when we stop working
to pay for the expenses of the government, and start working to pay for
the items we severally and individually choose in light of our own needs
and desires. In 1929, that holiday would have come on Feb 12; today it
would come about May 30; if present trends were to continuel it would coincide
with July 4."
- Milton Friedman,
"Free To Choose"
"An engine of gigantic
power for great national purposes."
- William Gladstone, renewing Britain's income tax in 1852
"High tax drives out
good conscience, drives out generous instincts, drives out the sense of
personal responsibility, inculates cynicism about the institutions that
give our lives moral shape."
- William Hague, Conservative
"You cannot bring about
prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening
the strong. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot keep out of
trouble by spending more than you earn. You cannot build character and
courage by taking away man's initiative and industry. You cannot help men
permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
Mr Brown’s great achievement
has been to use the static tax model, arguing, for instance that a £3
billion cut will result in an identical loss to the Treasury. This is not
so — as lower taxes incentivise work and, ergo, generate more revenue.
Mr Osborne intends to use a dynamic model in his planned Office for Budget
Responsibility, which will take account of a simple principle: lower taxes
expand the tax base. The less the government confiscates from the salaries
of the low-paid, for example, the more incentive there will be to come
off welfare. And — whisper it — it works for the rich too. Nigel Lawson,
for example, can claim to be one of the most redistributive chancellors
in history — but for reasons Mr Brown would hate. When he cut the top rate
of income tax in his famous 1988 budget, for example — a budget vociferously
opposed by Mr Brown — the richest 1 per cent paid 14 per cent of all income
tax collected. It has since soared to 23 per cent. The richest now shoulder
a far greater share of the burden because Lord Lawson lowered their tax
rates. This is a paradox that Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with their
zero-sum economics, are incapable of understanding
- Fraser Nelson, "The Spectator" (Nov'08)
Among the other ploys
used to try to prevent tax cuts is the claim that the Reagan tax cuts of
the 1980s were the reason for the rising deficits of the 1980s. Let's confound
the politicians once again by stopping to think about it. Let's even look
at the facts. The tax cuts of the 1980s cut the tax *rates*. This did not
reduce the tax *revenue* that came into Washington. More tax revenues were
collected in every year of the two Reagan Administrations than had ever
been collected in any year of any previous administration in history. Congress
just spent all this money and more. That is why there was a deficit.
- Thomas Sowell, "Taxing
the Living and the Dead"
We don't have a trillion-dollar
debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because
we spend too much.
- Ronald Reagan, 1982.
Someone who works for
the federal government but doesn't have to take the civil service examination.
- Ronald Reagan's definition of a taxpaper
An economy hampered
by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our
budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits.
When the state controls
a man's money, it controls the man. That is why the liberty of citizens
rests in many people having lots of money, instead of the State having
most. When private citizens have money, they must tend it, use it wisely,
or lose it : and they will lose it only to more clever citizens, in whose
hands it will be better used.
- Mary Ellen Synon,
in Ireland's "Sunday Independent"
"The only security men
can have for their political liberty consists in keeping their money in
their own pockets."
"Government's view of
the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax
it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize
"The government deficit
is the difference between the amount of money the government spends and
the amount it has the nerve to collect."
- Sam Ewing
"Marx and Engels openly
declared that the progressive income tax and the death tax are 'economically
untenable' and that they advocated them only because 'they necessitate
further inroads' upon the capitalist system and are 'unavoidable' as a
means of bringing about socialism."
"Taxes on consumption,
like those on capital or income, to be just, must be uniform."
- Benjamin Franklin,
letter to the French Ministry, 1778.
If you want irresponsible
politicians to spend less, you must give them less to spend.
"The less money you give
the government, the wiser they shall have to be in spending it."
They have the usual socialist
disease; they have run out of other people's money.
- Margaret Thatcher,Conservative
Party Conference, 1975.
"To tax the larger incomes
at a higher percentage than the smaller, is to lay a tax on industry and
economy; to impose a penalty on people for having worked harder and saved
more than their neighbors."
- John Stuart Mill
"Politicians can't give
us anything without depriving us of something else. Government is not a
god. Every dime they spend must first be taken from someone else."
"The fundamental class
division in any society is not between rich and poor, or between farmers
and city dwellers, but between tax payers and tax consumers."
- David Boaz, CATO
It was a new kind of class
war — the people as citizens versus the politicians and their clients in
the public sector.
- "Comments on Prop 13," Wall Street Journal, 1978.
Most of the tax revisions
didn't improve the system, they made it more like Washington itself; complicated,
unfair, cluttered with gobbledygook and loopholes designed for those with
the power and influence to have high-priced legal and tax advisors.
- President Ronald Reagan, 1985.
71,000 young, educated
people have left New Zealand this past year fleeing high-tax, high-welfare
policies. Cost £1 Billion in wasted training and education.
"Past studies by and large
confirm the prediction that higher minimum wages reduce employment opportunities
and raise unemployment, particularly among teenagers, minorities and other
"The hardest thing in
the world to understand is the income tax."
- Albert Einstein
In 1965, leisure was
pretty much equally distributed across classes. People of the same age,
sex, and family size tended to have about the same amount of leisure, regardless
of their socioeconomic status. But since then, two things have happened.
First, leisure (like income) has increased dramatically across the board.
Second, though everyone's a winner, the biggest winners are at the bottom
of the socioeconomic ladder... By and large, the biggest leisure gains
have gone precisely to those with the most stagnant incomes—that is, the
least skilled and the least educated. And conversely, the smallest leisure
gains have been concentrated among the most educated, the same group that's
had the biggest gains in income.
There are, I think,
two important morals here. First, man does not live by bread alone. Our
happiness depends partly on our incomes, but also on the time we spend
with our friends, our hobbies, and our favorite TV shows. So, it's a good
exercise in perspective to remember that by and large, the big winners
in the income derby have been the small winners in the leisure derby, and
vice versa. Second, a certain class of pundits and politicians are quick
to see any increase in income inequality as a problem that needs fixing—usually
through some form of redistributive taxation... If you think it's OK to
redistribute income but repellent to redistribute leisure, you might want
to ask yourself what—if anything—is the fundamental difference.
- Steven E. Landsburg, "Slate Magazine"
When economists refer
to a “progressive” income tax, they merely mean a tax rate that increases
as you move up the income ladder. (Right now in the U.S., the poor pay
somewhere between 0 percent and 10 percent in federal income tax. The middle
class pays 15 percent to 28 percent, and the highest earners pay 33 percent
or 35 percent.)
...The U.S. tax code
is a lot more progressive than you might think. A new study by the Paris-based
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development reveals that the
United States “has the most progressive tax system and collects the largest
share of taxes from the richest 10 percent of the population.” Our tax
system is, in fact, the most “pro-poor,” according to a Tax Foundation
analysis of that study, of any developed country’s save Ireland. That’s
right, we’re more progressive than France and Sweden.
The bottom 40 percent
of income earners receive more from the federal income tax system than
they pay into it. Meanwhile, the top 10 percent pay 71 percent of all income
tax, despite only earning 39 percent of our pretax income. Taxes on the
top 1 percent constitute 40 percent of tax dollars.
Lower- and middle-income
workers pay a lot in other forms of taxation, particularly regressive payroll
and sales taxes. Indeed, that’s one reason Obama wants to offer the middle
class a tax cut. I don’t like his version of it, but I think he’s right
that the middle class deserves some tax relief. But what all Americans
need is tax reform. Our tax code is outrageously impenetrable. And we’ve
built a system that treats the wealthy like an inexhaustible natural resource.
- Jonah Goldberg, "National Review"
Taxes are going up
so fast, the government is likely to price itself out of the market.
THE POLITICS OF ENVY
It is true that people
do feel the pain of difference if their neighbours seem richer than they,
but is that really worse than a situation in which you are, literally,
getting poorer? If your annual income is, say, £20,000, it is surely
worse when it falls to £19,000 than when it goes up to £21,000,
while your neighbour, who was previously on £40,000, goes up to £43,000...
There are many ills in the upbringing of children in Britain today, and
some of them certainly have to do with the false idea that anything you
can buy is better than anything you cannot. I cannot think of any society,
however, which has helped its most vulnerable members by choosing to get
- Charles Moore, on the concept of 'relative' poverty, "The Spectator"
If people suffer more
distress where the gap between rich and poor is largest, it can only be
because they have failed to keep their self-destructive feelings of envy
under control. As Oliver James concedes, affluenza is a "middle-class"
virus. So why should the middle classes get so distressed about the gap
between rich and poor? Because the rich are more envied by those who have
a little than by those who have nothing. Since the dawn of civilisation,
man has been taught to suppress these urges, but now, under the dispensations
of our blame culture, we are encouraged to point fingers at the Government
for failing to tax the rich man severely enough to avoid those sensations
of inadequacy that well up within us.
- Alexander Waugh, reviewing "Affluenza", "The Telegraph"
From an evolutionary
viewpoint it is important to realise that evolution has little interest
in our happiness unless it contributes to our survival and increased reproduction.
It may have been an advantage for our ancestors to have inherited some
of the Affluenza viruses, such as constantly trying to improve one’s situation
and always trying do better than others. This could have led to increased
chances of survival, and perhaps we have inherited these feelings and behaviours
and still need them. Perhaps we should be grateful, after all, that such
feelings have led to an affluent society with much greater health and longer
- Lewis Wolpert, reviewing "Affluenza", "The Spectator"
"The latest analysis
of the Tax Foundation shows that the top 5 percent of taxpayers account
for over half of income tax revenues, up sharply from a decade ago. The
top 1 percent bear one-third of the burden. The top 50 percent pay 96 percent
of all income tax revenues."
- Doug Bandow, "Cut
Taxes, Not the Debt", in "Ideas on Liberty"
"The median family of
four ... paid $4,722 in federal taxes last year. That's enough to pay for
a new curtain for the secretary of commerce's office, to bribe a farmer
not to plant 38 acres with corn ... seven weeks of salary for a Customs
man assigned to save us from the terror of high-quality, low priced foreign
TV sets, or the subsidy on 6,000 bushels of wheat to prop up the Soviet
regime. Surely civilization would collapse without such essential services."
- Alan Bock, "Orange
As the Washington Post
points out - the richest 400 tax payers pay as much to the feds as the
poorest 40 million in taxes. It kind of puts into perspective the constant
refrain that Bush's tax cut mainly benefits the rich. In today's lopsided
economy, any reduction in all tax rates will inevitably benefit the rich.
I guess Al Gore wasn't smart enough to figure that out. The real worry
is the danger in a system where increasing numbers of people are consumers
of government goodies, and a smaller and smaller number of people pay for
more and more of it. This is a recipe for majoritarian tyranny. If we have
one-person-one-vote and you can always vote for higher taxes and spending,
knowing you won't ever have to pay for it, why not do so?
There's a reason public
spending increased by 8 percent last year under a Republican Congress.
And there's a reason some Republicans are quietly insouciant about possible
future deficits under their tax plan. They figure there's no legitimate
way to stop the dependent class voting for more and more, except throwing
the government into periodic fits of bankruptcy. There really ought to
be a better way.
- Andrew Sullivan
Inflation is not caused
by the actions of private citizens, but by the government: by an artificial
expansion of the money supply required to support deficit spending. No
private embezzlers or bank robbers in history have ever plundered people's
savings on a scale comparable to the plunder perpetrated by the fiscal
policies of statist governments.
- Ayn Rand, "Who
Will Protect Us From Our Protectors?" Objectivist Newsletter, May 1952
"By a continuing process
of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important
part of the wealth of their citizens. There is no subtler, no surer means
of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.
The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of
destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is
able to diagnose."
- JM Keynes, "The
Economic Consequences of The Peace"
"The banks - commercial
banks and the Federal Reserve - create all the money of this nation and
its people pay interest on every dollar of that newly created money. Which
means that private banks exercise unconstitutionally, immorally, and ridiculously
the power to tax the people. For every newly created dollar dilutes to
some extent the value of every other dollar already in circulation."
- Congressman Jerry
"Who could have foreseen
that between 1923 and 1929, the Federal Reserve would print up a 62 per
cent inflation and then suddenly stop, whiplashing the country into the
crash of '29, followed by a numbing depression that lasted more than a
- "Miracle on Main
"Gold was not selected
arbitrarily by governments to be the monetary standard. Gold had developed
for many centuries on the free market as the best money; as the commodity
providing the most stable and desirable monetary medium."
"You have to choose [as
a voter] between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural
stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due
respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system
lasts, to vote for gold."
"With the exception only
of the period of the gold standard, practically all governments of history
have used their exclusive power to issue money to defraud and plunder the
"Inflation is taxation
- Milton Friedman
"The first requisite
of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over
the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians."
"The abandonment of the
gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking
system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. In the absence of
the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation
through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the
government would have to make its holdings illegal, as was done in the
case of gold. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there
be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves . This is the
shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending
is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands
in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property
- Alan Greenspan,
(now Federal Reserve Chairman) 1966.
The way to make money
on the stock exchange is not to be the best corporate analyst, but to be
the best at guessing what others think is good.
We don't have to put people
out of work to control inflation. The goal of the next decade should be
to fight inflation and unemployment through supply-side incentives to put
more goods on the shelves. That's the way to cut prices and boost employment.
- Lloyd Bentsen, Joint
Economic Committee of Congress, 1980.
Abracadabra, thus we learn
The more you create,
the less you earn.
The less you earn,
the more you're given,
The less you lead,
the more you're driven,
The more destroyed,
the more they feed,
The more you pay,
the more they need,
The more you earn,
the less you keep,
And now I lay me down
I pray the Lord my
soul to take
If the tax-collector
hasn't got it before I wake.
- Ogden Nash
Vote Republican - it's
Vote Republican - the
money you save will be your own!
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